In adapting the 100,000-stanza Sanskrit poem that is roughly India's equivalent to the Bible, renowned stage director Peter Brook has created a work that is more filmed theater than fluid moviemaking. (In fact, Brook first tackled this material in a nine-hour stage production). This
version, the result of trimmings from other stage and television presentations, runs just under three hours. In spite of all this cutting and pasting, THE MAHABHARATA manages to be both overlong--a byproduct both of its staginess and of its emphasis on talk over action--and underdeveloped. Yet the
cumulative power of this 2,000-year-old tale is undeniable, and Brook's approach, if debat...