I WAS SIX YEARS OLD WHEN I FIRST SAW Peter Brook’s Mahabharata. An aunt, knowing of my fascination for the epic, had brought back a copy of the film from England. I was hooked from the very first minute. Initially, my parents were gratified, even proud. Like all ambitious parents, they were constantly on the watch for some sign that I was prodigy material, and my delight in Brook’s film seemed a promising indication of good taste to them. But soon they were worried. Day after day, in the stubborn way of small children, I would bully them into letting me watch the film. If they said no, I would turn to blackmail—I would refuse to eat unless the film was on and I could perch,
eyes a few dangerous inches away from the screen of our 15-inch TV.
Attempts were made to wean me away, but to no avail. As a last resort, my parents tried to interest me in a substitute—another Mahabharata, BR Chopra’s.