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Time Out says
Based on a complex and subtle anonymously written Indian narrative 3,500 years old, The Mahabharata - originally adapted by Jean-Claude Carrière and Peter Brook for the latter's inspirational, widely praised stage production, also seen in a longer TV version - attempts nothing less than to tell the epic story of mankind. A fiery explosion of such rich Indian colours as saffron, ochre, crimson and white, the film is not just a record of the stage production, but a fine piece of work that has been completely rethought for the screen. Strangely, whereas in the theatre one was impressed with the way the story was told, on film the gripping tale - of the developing rivalry between the Pandavas and Kauravas, who provoke a war that brings the world to the brink of total destruction - comes over with greater intensity. Brook has created a film fantasy, a fascinating combination of the earthy and the spiritual which is never remotely folksy, and which is enriched by the vitality and diversity of its international cast.