Meme uvaacha

Good stories are memes. They tend to spread, not merely by faithful reproduction, but despite purposeful remixing over the years. The Mahabharatha is no exception. The story grew in its telling and it is now embedded firmly in the Indian psyche. But I do not think we are doing enough to remix the fundamental themes in this epic. Thanks to BR Chopra and his garish, un-nuanced and heavily sanitized version that played over several years on Doordarshan, we now seem to have a stultified view of the epic. Gone are the gratuitous references to violence, the overall original darkness of the plotline, gore and the downright weird (by modern day standards) social practices and mores, as our collective idea of this epic has been reduced to overdramatic acting, fake jewellery and arrows duking it out amidst questionable looking fireworks. And let’s not even get started on the background score.

But to be fair to the Doordarshan version, a literally faithful take of this epic would have probably bought the Pandava Sene to the fore, demanding that such vile and Un-Indian representations of the epic be banned, and all of us sipping on our gin in Irony bar would have chuckled.

So after this impassioned plea to release our epics from the cruel stranglehold of Desi Television, you must be expecting a profoundly new vision for Mahabharatha 2.0, a bold, contemporary and yet very Indian take on the epic, and I am happy to inform you that it will not be the case. What I present to you instead is more on the lines of a stunningly inane attempt at blending the best (?) of the Internets with some of the key events in the epic and hoping that all your bases are belong to my cheezburger which can has madness as well as Sparta to which you might ask “O Rly?” and my response would be “Ya Rly!”


(Original image credits: Thailand Culture)


(Original image credits: Ashok Dongre)


(Original image credits: Ashok Dongre)


(Original Image credits: here)

this-is-partha-mahabharatha(Original Image credits: From Amar Chitra Katha)

Perhaps we should create a Lolcat version of the epic after all.

52 thoughts on “Meme uvaacha

  1. “Sanjaya, what does your webcam reveal?”
    “The connection’s a bit slow, Sire.”

    (The new Ramayana would star Prabhu Deva as (Benny) Lava and Wall-E as Sugreeva’s brother!)

  2. I remember watching Doordarshan as a child..swords clashing and woman crying..I wonder what effect that had subliminally in my mind in my formative years.

  3. Ya Rly !

    Ofcourse ! Sunday mornings were deserted ! To watch Rupa Ganguly as Draupadi and those flying arrows and bright sparks faking for fireworks !

    And of course, yes, lets not get started on the background score. Sometimes, my nightmares used to have those scores superimposed on them. And that wheel… would keep me awake ! Out of fear !


  4. A translation of the original mahabharatha by Kisari mohan Ganguly is available on the internet and to give credit to BR Chopra’s version, the conversation is a word to word translation of the original (original translation) and hence its success despite garish make up and the polyester clad draupadi. I think it was the dialogue that kept the audience captive. The mahabharatha by Peter Brook has an anaemic looking guy playing krishna and I couldnt watch it- so i guess the cultural bias also plays a role.

  5. Is one supposed to find the 6 differences between the two images “all your bases” and the “epic fail”?

  6. I was trying to find the link for Facebook Mahabharata to post here before discovering that you wrote that also. You’ve come the full Google circle. Congratulations.

    1. Been a reader of this blog for sometime now.. The “This is Partha” bit had me fall of me chair.. Awesome taime pass kadlekai this blog is!!

  7. Arjuna asks Krishna: Oh Krishna! Please show me your Vishwaroopa!

    Krishna: “You will need a wide angle eye for that.”
    and So he pulls out Arjuna’s normal 50mm eyeball lenses and fits it with a nice 10mm super wide angle lens.

    Arjuna: Whoa! This is so wide, I can see the back of my crown!

    Krishna: That is the intention, I wanted you to see your crown chakra so that you can see my Vishwaroopa!

  8. I remember this one episode in the Doordarshan version with Panchali’s saree scene… it would just go on and on.
    Your blog is addictive, I started reading it a couple of days back and am done with almost every post 😀

  9. I see what you did there.
    The great war was about soulja’s fighting against each other.
    Since this is relevant to my interests,
    I was typing this long message & I accidentally the whole post!

    So here is my fav bit……

    While Abhimanyu should’ve know, one does not not simply walk into Mordor nor
    out of the Chakravyuha. (You just cant do a barrel roll) and becomes An Hero.

    Ashwattaama then tries to kill his(Abi’s) unborn child FTW.
    which grand uncle Krishna thawrts.

    And that son, Parikshit, goes on to to get killed by a snake.
    And his son Janamajeya, says “I am sick of the MF snakes on the MF plain!!”
    and proceeds to annihilate them.

    BTW, if you clicked on the link above
    Your doing it wrong and we are so done professionally.

  10. ROTFL… “Rly! Ya Rly”, “This is Partha!!” Uncontrollable.. laughed aloud and got noticed by everyone in office…

    Amazing posts.. keep rocking!


  11. hi,
    awesome blog…hats off… 🙂
    been reading your posts for more than an hour now…simply loved the madras map and plogs…
    am sure your wife is not just smiling,but ROTFL all the time 🙂

  12. “This is madness”
    This is Partha”

    Wonderful witty image. 🙂
    How about Pandavas and Kauravas lobbying hard to get access to a Nuclear warhead?

  13. Be patient till the last,
    Romans, countrymen, and lovers,
    Hear me for my cause and be silent that you may hear,
    Believe me for mine honor and have respect for mine honor that you may believe,
    censure me in your wisdom,
    awake your senses that you may be the better judge


  14. It is always easy to do A remix. What is it by the way, copying the same ideas and adding extra flavors by once again borrowing ideas from somewhere else ( eg: this is Partha from 300) . Buddy, ultimately the message won’t reach, rather it’ll go in a wrong form. Better be original.

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