Myriad facets of the Mahabharata

New Delhi, Feb 9 (PTI) Veteran filmmaker ShyamBenegal''s "Mahabharata" from his "Bharat Ek Khoj" tele series,British director Peter Brooke''s film of the same name andTelugu director K V Reddy''s "Mayavazar" are among films thatwill be screened here at a special festival, which looks atnarrations of the epic in different corners of India.

The month-long festival - Jaya Utsav: CelebratingLiving Traditions of Mahabharata,- organised by the IndiraGandhi National Centre for the Arts from February 10 wouldbring to the capital a potpourri of literary readings,symposiums, exhibitions, theatre performances and a book fair.

Benegal who also directed the 1981 film "Kalyug" amodern take on the epic will engage in a conversation withVishnu Vardhan and Mahesh Kumar to discuss his film andearlier tele series in "a Day with Shyam Benegal."

"There would be abut 40 films which will be shown atthe festival, including a section on technographic films,"Molly Kaushal of IGNCA told PTI.

"The festival brings never before seen folk and tribaltraditions. There is the Draupadi Amman cult from south Indiaconsisting of fire-walking and other ritual performances, theAgni Nritya from Rajasthan, a unique transgender festival, theAravan Thiruvizha and martial art forms among others," shesays.

Organisers say the objective of the festival is toshowcase and understand the collective imaginary of a vastculture of Mahabharata with many contradictions and deviationsoperative vibrantly in different parts of the country, in factsignifying the richness of cultural diversity present in thesubcontinent.

Lyricist-poet Gulzar who has translated into urduIndian Ambassador to Bhutan Pavan K Varma''s poem "Yudhishtarand Draupadi" will conduct a reading in the Literary Eveningsection.

Another evening of literary readings, "ContemporaryVoices" chaired by Hindi critic Namwar Singh would seeeminent writers and poets talking about how Mahabharata hasinspired them as well as the impact of the epic on Indianliterature.

The international symposium section "the livingtraditions of Mahabharata" would see experts from India andabroad present papers and talks. "Making Mahabharata in theHimalayas", "Moral dilemmas in Mahabharata" and "RegionalDynamics of the Mahabharata" are some of the topics at thesymposium

A separate section explore Mahabharata for children.

Padmshri awardees and other national award winners would stagecultural performances Nalacharitam (kathakali), Chakravyuha,Ghatotkach-Badh etc.

Another highlight of the festival is the "Bhim rasoi"

a food court which promises to be a treat for gastronomes andmaster craftsmen workshop and sale.

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