Mahabharata is an epic. It has a large canvas. Its conflict is eternal. Its characterization is varied and multi-layered. No wonders it continues to attract people even today. It has inspired many writers, playwrights and filmmakers. They have tried to give their own interpretations of the epic through their works. Corpokshetra by Deepak Kaul is one such attempt. Apart from Mahabharata, Shashi Tharoor’s the Great Indian Novel (which itself is inspired from Mahabharata) is an inspiration for Corpokshetra.
Corpokshetra transforms the Kurushetra into a conference room. The game of dice gives way for poker, cricket and golf. The characters drink whiskey and gin. Instead of Sun god, a famous film star called Big C who is hosting a game show and who though married had an affair with a siren called Sulekha father’s Karna. Draupadi has a golf swayamwar. Dronacharya and Parasurama are golf instructors. Hastinapur, Anga are all body corporates. Krishna is a consultant who charges hefty fees and who loses both his money and clients for he is spending much of his time in the conference room where the great war is happening. Karna is denied an opportunity to participate in the game for he is not a member of the club.
Recreating Mahabharata itself is a challenge. It is a great risk. It is a walk on the rope. Yet debutant Deepak Kaul does a decent job. Though he doesn’t cover the entire expanse of Mahabharata, he fairly recreates some of the famous characters and the scenes in today’s era. Having said I did not understand why the characters who are living lavished corporate lives stick to old words like priya, putra, mitra and beta while addressing each other. It would have been great fun it they would have called each other darling, buddy, dude and babe. Also though the book is of only 118 pages, it becomes boring after a certain point. May be you will like it if you are a great fan of Mahabharata or working in a corporate setting. At the end of the book the author dishes out lessons from Mahabharata which we haven’t learnt even after so much of water has flown down the bridge. Isn’t that a good reason to buy this book?