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The Mahabharata (1989 film)

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Director  Peter Brook
Adapted from  Mahabharata
Country  Belgium / Australia / U.S.A. / Sweden / Portugal / Norway / Netherlands / Japan / Ireland / Iceland / Finland / Denmark / U.K. / France
7.9/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, War
Budget  5 million USD
Language  English
The Mahabharata (1989 film) movie poster

Writer  Jean-Claude Carriere, Marie-Helene Estienne
Release date  1989
Cast  Vittorio Mezzogiorno (Arjuna), Bruce Myers (Ganesha; Krishna), Miriam Goldschmidt (Kunti), Robert Langdon Lloyd (Vyasa), Andrzej Seweryn (Yudhishthira), Yoshi Oida (Drona)
Similar movies  Wrath of the Titans, Clash of the Titans, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Gandhi, Glory, Clash of the Titans

The Mahabharata is a 1989 film version of the Hindu epic, Mahabharata directed by Peter Brook. Brook's original 1985 stage play was 9 hours long, and toured around the world for four years. In 1989, it was reduced to under 6 hours for television (TV mini series). Later it was also reduced to about 3 hours for theatrical and DVD release. The screenplay was the result of eight years' work by Peter Brook, Jean-Claude Carrière and Marie-Hélène Estienne.


The Mahabharata (1989 film) movie scenes


In general terms, the story involves epic incidents between two warring families, the Pandavas (representing the good side) and the Kauravas (representing the bad side). Both sides, being the offspring of kings and gods, fight for dominion. They have both been advised by the god Krishna to live in harmony and abstain from the bloody lust for power. Yet their fights come to threaten the very order of the Universe. The plot is framed by a dialogue between the Brahmin sage Vyasa and the Hindu deity Ganesha, and directed towards an unnamed Indian boy who comes to him inquiring about the story of the human race.


  • Robert Langdon Lloyd as Vyasa
  • Antonin Stahly-Vishwanadan as Boy
  • Bruce Myers as Ganesha/Krishna
  • Vittorio Mezzogiorno as Arjuna
  • Andrzej Seweryn as Yudhishthira
  • Mamadou Dioumé as Bhima
  • Georges Corraface as Duryodhana
  • Jean-Paul Denizon as Nakula
  • Mahmoud Tabrizi-Zadeh as Sahadeva
  • Mallika Sarabhai as Draupadi
  • Miriam Goldschmidt as Kunti
  • Ryszard Cieslak as Dhritarashtra
  • Hélène Patarot as Gandhari
  • Myriam Tadesse as Gandhari's servant
  • Urs Bihler as Dushasana
  • Lou Bihler as Young Karna
  • Jeffrey Kissoon as Karna
  • Maurice Bénichou as Kitchaka
  • Yoshi Oida as Drona
  • Sotigui Kouyaté as Parashurama / Bhishma
  • Tuncel Kurtiz as Shakuni
  • Ciarán Hinds as Ashwatthama
  • Erika Alexander as Madri / Hidimbi
  • Bakary Sangaré as The Sun / Rakshasa / Ghatotkacha
  • Tapa Sudana as Pandu/Shiva
  • Akram Khan as Ekalavya
  • Nolan Hemmings as Abhimanyu
  • Hapsari Hardjito as Utari (Abhimanyu's wife)
  • Mas Soegeng as Virata
  • Yumi Nara as Virata's wife
  • Amba Bihler as Virata's daughter
  • Tamsir Niane as Urvasi
  • Lutfi Jakfar as Uttara
  • Gisèle Hogard as 1st princess
  • Julie Romanus as 2nd princess
  • Abbi Patricx as Salvi
  • Ken Higelin as Deathless boy
  • Corinne Jaber as Amba / Sikhandin
  • Joseph Kurian as Dhristadyumna
  • Clément Masdongar as Gazelle
  • Leela Mayor as Satyavati
  • Velu Vishwananan as The hermit
  • Reception

    The production's use of an international cast caused heated intercultural debate. Negative criticism came from Indian scholar Pradip Bhattacharya who felt that Brook's interpretation "was not a portrayal of a titanic clash between the forces of good and evil, which is the stuff of the epic... [but] the story of the warring progeny of some rustic landlord".


    In 1990, the film won the award for Performing Arts of the International Emmy Awards and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the São Paulo International Film Festival.


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