Mahabharata Episode 49: The Diplomacy Fails

Duryodhana tries to imprison Krishna

Duryodhana tries to imprison Krishna

Krishna arrives at the Hastinapur palace with his peace proposal. However, his reconciliatory words falls into deaf ears. Duryodhan ignores Krishna’s proposal and claims he has done nothing wrong. Dhritarashtra makes a feeble attempt to convince Duryodhan, but fails. Duryodhan and his brothers try to attack Krishna and imprison him. However, Duryodhan was not prepared for the shock he was about to experience.

Listen to this exciting episode by clicking the player below.

The Why and How of “The Curious Case of a Casual Terrorist”.

Basant Adnani

The Curious Case of a Casual Terrorist

Last fall, when I joined the Dramatist Guild Institute’s play writing workshop, I was told the objective of this class would be for each participant to write a first draft of a full length play. I was thinking what would be a good topic to write about. And then it dawned on me, the story of “The Curious Case of a Casual Terrorist” would be the perfect vehicle to try out. I have been following this bizarre story of an international salesman, who of his own will, fell into a trap set up by the law-enforcement to nab terrorists before they could act. The story, that unfolded in New Jersey about fifteen years ago, caused a huge media storm. The strangeness of this story made it a household topic of discussion, while the law enforcement touted it as their greatest success. I thought about the possibility of a play based on this true story right then, but couldn’t get to it. There were other issues too.  Finally,  at the end of the ten weeks workshop the play that evolved in its first draft form was not the true story itself, but a fictionalized drama highlighting the irony and absurdity of it all.  Continue reading

Mahabharata Episode 48: Krishna, the Emissary

Krishna, the emissary

Krishna, the emissary

When Sanjay visited the Pandavas with the peace proposal from Dhritarashtra, Yudhistir  asked for only five villages for the five brothers. But Duryodhan denied. He said, he wouldn’t give the Pandavas even a spec of soil one could lift on a needle point. The Pandavas sought the help of their friend, philosopher and guide, Krishna.  Krishna agreed to give one last effort to broker a peace deal with the Kauravas. He decided to visit Hastinapur and try to talk some sense into Dhritarashtra and Duryodhan. But will he succeed in preventing the war? Listen to the rest by clicking the player below.

Mahabharata Episode 47: The Diplomacy Continues

Sanjay negotiates with the Pandavas

Sanjay negotiates with the Pandavas

The Kauravas and the Pandavas prepare for war while the diplomatic efforts to avoid it takes its own course. Dhritarashtra sends his trusted emissary Sanjay to dissuade the Pandavas from a bloody war. Yudhistir asks for five small villages for the five brothers. Duryodhan denies the request and declares. without a fight he wouldn’t give the Pandavas even a spec of land one could lift on a needle tip.

Listen to this dramatic episode by clicking the player below.

Mahabharata Episode 46: The Preparation

Duryodhan and Arjun seeks Krishna's support

Duryodhan and Arjun seeks Krishna's support

After Abhimanyu and Uttara’s wedding, the Pandavas get busy planning to claim back their Kingdom. They knew, Duryodhan wouldn’t give back their due without a fight. They begin to seek alliances of powerful kings. To fight the Kauravas they need a large and strong army. Duryodhan doesn’t sit idle either. He doubles his efforts to reinforce his military might. Both the parties prepare to fight the ultimate battle which now seems inevitable.

Mahabharata Episode 45: The Pandavas Emerge from Hiding

Draupadi and the Pandavas

Draupadi and the Pandavas

King Virat was ecstatic to know that his son Uttar has defeated the indomitable Kauravas and won back their cattle. But Yudhistir’s lack of enthusiasm and unabashed praise for the eunuch charioteer Brihannala enraged him. However, his rage turned to humility when he discovered that he has been hosting the mighty Pandavas in his castle for the last one year. Enthralled, he offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to Arjun’s son Abhimanyu. The Pandavs agreed.

While the marriage ceremony took place, Yudhistir was engrossed in another thought. As per the agreement with Duryodhan, the Pandavas have completed their twelve years in exile followed by one year in hiding. Now the time has come to claim back the throne of Indraprastha. The question remains, will Duryodhan keep his promise and give back their kingdom in peace? 

Mahabharata Episode 44: The Battle for the Cattle

Uttara and Arjuna discovering the arms

Uttara and Arjuna discovering the arms

Uttar takes Arjun (disguised as Brihannala) to fight the Kauravas and win back the cattle of King Virat. But witnessing the might of the Kauravas, Uttar panics. Brihannala takes Uttar to the Sami tree and fetches the Pandiva weapons hanging up in the high branches. Arjun then reveals his true identity and asks Uttar to drive the chariot and allow him to fight the Kauravas. What happens next is a fierce battle and the Kaurava titans get to taste the might of Arjun.

Listen to this exciting episode by clicking the player below.

Mahabharata Episode 43: The Revelation

Bheem punishes Susharma for attacking Virat's kingdom.

Bheem punishes Susharma for attacking Virat's kingdom.

Emboldened by Keechak’s death the King of Trigartha, Susharma, with support from Duryodhan, attacks the Matsya Kingdom to steal Virat’s cattle. Yudhistir, Bheem, Nakul and Sahadev help Virat fight the Trigarta army.

While Virat is busy fighting Susharma,  the Kaurava army attack Virat’s Kingdom from the other end to rob his cows. No one is left in the palace to defend the Kingdom, except the young and inexperienced prince Uttar. Sairindhri advises the prince to take Brihannala as his charioteer.  Uttar has no other option but to use the eunuch’s help to fight the mighty Kaurava army led by the great warriors like Bhishma, Dron, Karna, Kripa and others.

Listen to this exciting tale by clicking the player below.

Mahabharata Episode 42: Bheem Kills Keechak

The Killing of Keechak

Bhim Killing Keechak

In the kingdom of Virat, the Panadvas have been spending their thirteenth year in exile. As per the contract, they had to live in disguise such that nobody could recognize them as the rulers of Indraprastha. Draupadi served the queen of Virat, Sudeshna, as her personal maid Sairindhri. But she couldn’t keep her beauty hidden from the lustful eyes of men in the palace. When Keechak, the arrogant and powerful brother of queen Sudeshna and the general of King Virat’s army, laid his eyes on Sairindhri, he couldn’t control himself.  He made an indecent proposal to Draupadi and when refused he reacted in the most brutal manner. Insulted and humiliated, Draupadi complained to Bheem, and Keechak had to pay for his insolent behavior with his life.

Mahabharata Episode 41: The Pandavas Go Incognito

Pandavas in Virat Kingdom

Pandavas in Virat Kingdom

The Pandavas complete their twelve years in exile. Now, as per the agreement, they have to go into hiding for the thirteenth year. It is quite a challenge since the entire Bharata knows the five gallant brothers and their beautiful wife Draupadi.  So they decide to disguise and take refuge in Matsya, the Kingdom of Virat. But how would they keep their identity a secret? Listen to this fascinating episode by clicking the player below.