“The book is a travelogue which is made livelier by Carriere’s quirky illustrations.”



This is the first English translation of a book written in French. Jean_Claude Carriere followed in Peter Brooke’s footsteps as he researched his stage version of the Mahabharata. Ultimately Brooker produced a nine hour long performance but to put it together, he sought out every type of theatrical performance based on the Mahabharata. Carrier’s encounter with the stage versions of the Mahabharata began with a night flight into Delhi.

The book emerged from Carriere’s notes giving it a unique format. He puts together the sacred frenzy of a Theyyam in a Kerala village, an encounter with an aged saint, Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, Mallika Sarabhai, of course, who became Brooke’s Draupadi. Brooke and Carriere also met P Lal in Kolkata, who was deep in translating the Mahabharata shloka by shloka when Carriere and Brook met him in Kolkata, something that was a kind of epic endeavour in itself.

Carriuere enumerates the different ways in which India celebrates the epic, fat Bhishma and all and the way in which an ageing actor can interpret a young heroic warrior and hold the audience captive.

The book is a travelogue which is made livelier by Carriere’s quirky illustrations.


Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 2nd March 2019

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Anjana Basu