Friday, September 26, 2014

Viewing Guide. Peter Brook's Mahabharata 1. The Beginnings.

Peter Brook's Mahabharata 1. The Beginnings

LINK. A boy wanders through a deserted temple.

3 minute mark: Vyasa the poet.

LINK. He sees Vyasa, an ascetic meditating. Vyasa has composed a poem, and he needs a scribe. Vyasa. "It's the story of your race, how your ancestors were born, how they grew up, how a vast war arose. It's the poetical history of mankind. If you listen carefully, at the end you'll be someone else."

4 minute mark: Satyavati and the birth of her son, Vyasa.

LINK. Ganesha arrives and agrees to be Vyasa's scribe. Vyasa tells the story of the birth of Satyavati and why she smelled like a fish. She makes love with a wandering sage; he removes the fish smell. Vyasa is their son.

7 minute mark: Prince Bhishma.

LINK. It is a Golden Age without war or misery. There is a perfect prince named Bhishma. Bhishma cannot become king. King Shantanu, Bhishma fell in love with Satyavati, and she insists their son become king. Bhishma swears that Satyavati's son will be king and that he will never father children: "I abjure forever the love of woman." His reward is that he can choose the time of his death. King Shantanu and Satyavati have a son, but he is weak. Bhishma goes to a tournament and wins three brides for the young prince: Amba, Ambika, Ambalika.

9 minute mark: Amba.

LINK. Amba tells Bhishma that she is secretly betrothed to King Salva. He releases her to join him. King Salva rejects Amba, even though she insists Bhishma has not touched her.

11 minute mark: Dhritarashtra and Pandu.

LINK. The young prince dies on his wedding day without children. Satyavati tells Vyasa that he must father the children. The first princess closes her eyes in disgust. Her son, Dhritarashtra, will be born blind. The second princess grows pale in shock. Her son, Pandu, will be pale. He becomes king.

13 minute mark: Amba's vow.

LINK. Amba asks Bhishma to take her back, but he tells her to go back to her father. She makes a vow: "I will live with one thought, only one, a thought like a blade: how to find someone to fight you to your death." She insists: "In one of the worlds, I will find your executioner. There's now on this earth a woman who will always think of you. Never forget me, Bhishma. I am your death."

15 minute mark: Kunti.

LINK. Pandu becomes king. We see Kunti: "She doesn't know it, but she's carrying the fate of the earth in her belly. Her children will be glorious, and without them, you wouldn't be here."

16 minute mark: Pandu is cursed.

LINK. King Pandu marries Kunti and another wife, Madri. He shoots a gazelle who is mating; it was a sage in the form of a gazelle, who curses him: "Pitiless man, I show you no pity. I curse you. If one day you take one of your wives in your arms, at that moment you will die, as I do now."

17 minute mark: Kunti's secret.

LINK. Dhritarashtra becomes king, and Pandu goes into self-imposed exile. Kunti and Madri go with him. Pandu wants children but cannot make love to his wives. He accepts this as destiny. But Kunti had a magic mantra from a hermit that gave her the power to call down a god and have a child with him. She already had a child by the sun god. Kunti kept her son a secret, setting him adrift on the river. A chariot driver found the boy and raised him. He is Karna, gifted and bitter: "He didn't know who he was."

20 minute mark: The sons of Pandu.

LINK. Kunti reveals her secret power to Pandu. He tells her to say the mantra. Pandu: "Evoke Dharma. Beyond him all thought must stop." Kunti: "This is our Yudhishthira, our first born, son of Dharma - irreproachable, flawless. Yudhishthira, born to be king." Pandu: "Evoke Vayu, god of the wind." Kunti: "Here is Bhima, son of the wind, strong as thunder." Kunti: "Now I call on Indra, king of gods." Another son is born. Kunti: "He is Arjuna, the perfect warrior. Born to conquer."

LINK. Kunti tells the mantra to Madri. Pandu: "Madri, evoke the Ashwins, the twin gods with golden eyes." Madri: "Here are our two sons, Nakula and Sahadeva, as inseparable as patience and wisdom." Pandu: "Five sons descended from the gods." Vyasa: "They are the five sons of Pandu, the Pandava. We will never leave them; they are the heart of my poem."

25 minute mark: Gandhari.

LINK. Dhritarashtra marries Gandhari. When she finds out he is blind, so she veils her eyes. Gandhari: "I'm putting a veil on my eyes. I'm tying it firmly. I will never take it off. Give me your hand; lead me to my husband. Now I can never reproach him his misfortune."

28 minute mark: The sons of Dhritarashtra.

LINK. Gandhari marries Dhritarashtra. She becomes pregnant, but does not give birth for two years. Finally, she has her servant strike her belly with an iron bar and a ball of flesh comes out. Vyasa orders them to cut the ball into a hundred pieces which will become one hundred sons. Vyasa: "The first to be born was called Duryodhana." Bhishma tells Dhritarashtra that the birth is ill-omened. He urges the king to sacrifice his son Duryodhana. The king and queen refuse.

33 minute mark: The death of Pandu.

LINK. Pandu yearns for Madri. Madri: "Don't tempt Death. Death is seducing you. Keep away." He takes her in his arms and dies. Madri: "I wanted to save him but his destiny carried him away." Madri and Kunti argue about who will join him on the funeral pyre. Madri tells Kunti to be a mother to her children. Kunti: "They will be like my sons; they will share everything." Kunti joins Pandu on the funeral pyre.

ends at 36 MINUTE 10 SECONDS.

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