Of all the epics that India’s rich literary heritage boasts of, Mahabharata is one book which has fascinated filmmakers and authors time and again. There have been innumerable interpretations of this war saga. B R Chopra’s Mahabharata,  Shyam Benegal’s Kalyug, Nitish Bharadwaj’s Gita Rahasya, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s Rashmirathi, Ajay Singh Supahiya’s animation short Arjun have been some of the fine examples. There have been some forgettable ones too like Ekta Kapoor’s Kahaani Hamaaray Mahaabhaarat Ki, Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti and the recent TV series being telecast on Star TV.

Anuja Rajamouli’s Arjuna borderlines on being forgettable. Her story focuses on Arjuna, the third Pandav brother and master archer, his journey, achievements as well as failures. The book borrows heavily from the original Mahagrantha (as it should) and folklores.

Despite being focused on Arjuna’s story the book doesn’t devote more than two pages to the most significant part of his life which is Geeta Upadesh. Before the war of Mahabharata when Arjuna’s courage dwindled seeing his family on the opposite side, Krishna gave him the lesson of life and dharma showing Arjuna his omnipresent form. The author chooses to ignore writing about the effect of that incident on Arjuna’s life and character.

Since the story of Mahabharata is so complex it requires a fluidity but Anuja jumps from one incident to another which makes it a difficult read. The language too is a bit heavy which gives it a feel of a translated version rather than a story being told from a different perspective. there are some major proofreading mishaps which I will not delve into. 

However, despite its flaws the book has some very interesting tales to weave the story together. Do not pick Arjuna expecting it to be a different take on Mahabharata, it is a translation of the book and that too a pretty average one.

Book: Arjuna
Author: Anuja Rajamouli
Publisher: Leadstart Corp.
Price: Rs 250
Pages: 368

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