The publication of the critical edition of Mahabharata is one of the monumental achievements of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), which was founded in 1917. As a tribute to the centenary of the BORI’s establishment, PIC in association with the National Film Archive of India (NFAI), organized a unique film festival based on ‘Mahabharata’ at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Dr. Shrikant Bahulkar, Honorary Secretary In-charge of BORI chaired this programme in the presence of Mr. Bhupendra Kainthola, Director of FTII.
A set of 10 films offering a different perspective towards the epic were screened at this festival, which was earnestly curated by PIC Founder member Dr. Latika Padgaonkar. The films engaged the audience through their diverse forms such as silent cinema, animation, children’s film, costume drama, modern adaptation and a tele serial.
Dr. Devdutta Pattanaik, eminent scholar of mythology, myth and religion, inaugurated the film festival and addressed a curious and enthusiastic audience. He highlighted that multiple versions of the Mahabharata exist in other parts of our country, just like all our other manuscripts. A version in every regional language has been documented, thus making it difficult to decipher its authenticity.
Dr. Pattanaik emphasized that the Mahabharata has been incorrectly perceived as an epic revolving around war, malice and politics, when in fact it is centered on people and human relationships. It is a manual that teaches us how to harmonise interpersonal relationships through love, sympathy and compassion. He concluded his talk by stating that the true essence of the Mahabharata can be comprehended only when we shift our perception of it from ‘Ranbhoomi’ to ‘Rangbhoomi’