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Revisiting Mahabharata: ‘Arjun ka Beta’ plays go packed house in Delhi

 26 July 2014
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Returning to the epic Mahabharata and delving into mythology, much-acclaimed play ‘Arjun ka Beta’ tries to answer the perplexing questions of our lives. And how!
Written and directed by Shri Atul Satya Koushik, the play was staged today at the Kamani Auditorium to a wide applause. The play is a presentation of the Films & Theater Society, and emphasizes on showcasing of mythology in a way so as to make it accessible and interesting for the modern day generation.
If it was Abhimanyu’s karma to fight the Chakravyuh set up by the Kauravas, it is the karma of each one of us to fight the challenges of life valiantly and determinedly! Mythology is much more than the compilation of parables; it is an interpretation of life itself and this is what ‘Arjun ka Beta’ aims to derive.
The play uses the tragic yet glorious incident of the epic Mahabhrata war in which Abhimanyu single handedly takes against seven great Kaurava warriors, knowing fully well that he did not know the path of return from the dangerous Chakravyuh set upon him.
With little chances of surviving, the young Abhimanyu sticks to his karma, fighting valiantly and being recognized as the most glorious martyr of the epic war. The play takes the tale of Chakravyuh to an intellectual level and through a sermon delivered by Krishna, talks about it being a metaphor for human life.
The play has Krishna as its protagonist answering many questions raised by the characters in the Pandava clan – from Arjun’s frustration of losing his young son, to Draupadi’s doubt about not being the mother of a martyr to Yuddhistir’s agony of leading the tragic battle and taking tough decisions that would certainly be questioned.
Mahabharata has always intrigued and attracted scholars and writers as its holds a different message for everyone. Some use it as a symbol of the futility of war, others search in it the meaning of human existence. Yet, our attempt is to derive from the epic story the wisdom to survive life and highlight the fact that life is after all a Chakravyuh and each one of us are ‘Abhimanyus’ battling vices, temptations, tribulations and tests . This is the message Krishna delivers in the play,” says Shri Koushik.
The seven warriors that Abhimanyu fought against are actually seven vices of our lives, fighting whom is our karma. The fruits of it, however, are beyond our control.
Arjun Ka Beta is hence an attempt to present the chapter of Chakravyuh from the great epic of Mahabharata in a new manner where hidden meanings, interpretation and learning from the philosophy of the Chakravyuh take the front seat, yet keeping all the action, glory, bravado and valor related to the incident equally important.
The importance of learning from history is another major sub theme that runs through the play that is enriched with rich poetry, credible performances, a fierce war scene choreographed in Indian martial art form ‘Thangta’ with live war songs and period costumes.
Krishna says, ‘More than the incidents and happenings that took place in history, we need to pay attention to the teachings and lessons that we can learn from it. Exact order and validity of incidents may be argued and questioned but not the ultimate lessons of Karma and Dharma’.
The play has earlier been been performed at the Horniman Circle Gardens, Mumbai; Sri Ram Centre, Delhi; L.T.G. Auditorium, Delhi; I.H.C. Open Air, Delhi; Epi-Centre Gurgaon; Mysore Association Hall, Mumbai and Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Estate, Delhi.
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