Epic Channel


How does one make an oft-repeated tale so interesting that even though one knows the finer details of the story, one still finds the eagerness to watch it yet again with the curious anxiety of  ‘what happens next?’. Epic Channel’s fictional show Dharmakshetra does exactly that.

A unique approach to narrate the story of world’s longest epic poem Mahabharata, Dharmakshetra applies the popular genre of a courtroom drama to dissect each character on the basis of dharma (accordance to the universal law) and adharma (non-accordance to the universal law).

The story is set at a time when all the principles characters of Mahabharata have passed on and are now on the way to their heavenly abode. They are at the court of Chitragupta, the Hindu God who maintains the records of all actions done by the humans on Earth during their lifetime.

Each character is called out and his/her accusations are listed by Chitragupta, against which the accused has to defend himself/herself and give explanations to. This leads to arguments and counter allegations among the concerned characters and a revisit to the related events, bringing forth the reasons due to which the accused committed the alleged adharma.

The constant references to past events enlightens one of the many happenings, conspiracies, deceits and misunderstandings, that are mostly known and some unknown. The reasons and mindsets behind these occurrences that are now revealed to all, pave way for Chitragupta to confer his judgement.

Thus many facts come to light. Many unknown characters prove to be turning points in the tale. Many hidden feelings are finally conveyed. Many unknown emotions finally surface. Unknowingly, this procedure makes them go through what we call a What-if analysis. Would this tale have been so if any of these events were any different. Perhaps not. So, here is an opportunity to rehash the known facts and learn some unknown ones. Such as,

  • Who was the first daughter-in-law of Kunti?
  • Did Dronacharya teach Arjuna everything that he knew or he held back anything?
  • Was the friendship of Karna and Duryodhan true or were they just using each other against the Pandavas?
  • Why didn’t Karna join the battle of Kurukshetra when Bheeshma was the Commander-in-chief?
  • Why didn’t Bheeshma aim his weapon towards Shikandi?
  • Was Yudhisthir’s delayed truth about Ashwathama, an act of dharma or adharma?
  • Who gave the invisible, invincible shield to Duryodhan and yet how did Bheem manage to defeat him?
  • Was Shakuni‘s revenge justified?
  • Which Pandava proved to be a true committed husband to Draupadi?
  • Why was Yudhisthir infuriated with Kunti when, after Karna‘s death, she told him that Karna was his elder brother?

This is just a gist of what one could learn in a gripping, emotional set up. Dharmakshetra has managed to bring back this epic story alive.

Epic Channel website: http://www.epicchannel.com/

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  • Reply
    rhea sinha
    May 16, 2015 at 3:41 am

    From your writeup I find this show fascinating Durga di. Mahabharata is one epic where almost everyone has shades of grey.. ashwadhama as the elephant is cited numerable times.. and all of geeta in a way talks about what is right and wrong. will recommend this to people back in india till the time I get to see it myself. thanks!

    • Reply
      May 17, 2015 at 3:41 am

      It is quite interesting Rhea. Especially narration and the queries raised makes one curious right away. A desire to know more about the events, how true or wrong a character was, the various endless discussions that arise from there. Mahabharat itself brings in so many thought processes. Dharmakshetra does the same but from a different angle.

      Sadly, the last episode of Dharmakshetra was telecasted yesterday. But hoping, there will be a retelecast in the near future.

  • Reply
    indrani robbins
    May 16, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    enjoyed your note on the take on mahabharat, durga. it’s always interesting to delve into this epic. but i must say, i feel we have now become a trifle obsessed with this on television, no doubt in the hope of getting trp. it appeals to indians everywhere. but i find the shows a bit disappointing always. the mahabharat is a poem, i miss the poetry in the renditions. even in the promo here i felt the hardness of it, the lack of flow… everyone wants to do their take, would be lovely if someone did a simple, fluid, storytelling of mahabharat for young children. have you seen peter brook’s mahabharata? i saw it years ago, i see it’s there online, just saw the beginning, feels beautifully told. thanks for your epic channel posts, keeps me in touch. maybe some day i will get it here too.

    • Reply
      May 17, 2015 at 3:58 am

      First of all, amen to that last line. I really want the channel to reach every Indian residing in any part of the world and to every person who loves India. This is our heritage about which many do not know much.
      Indi, I agree. The fact that Mahabharat is actually written as a poem is slowly leaving from the conscious mind. The various adaptations on tv of any mythological story tends to keep one eye on the trps. Mythologicals do not deserve that. They have their own beauty and a fixed pace of story narration. But I believe, this tide would turn.
      Dharmakshetra is not about telling the story of Mahabharat event wise. But instead, it tries to analyse the characters based on their deeds which include recalling of the said incidents and arriving at the real reason which caused the said act. The effect of all this is creating inquisitiveness and develop interest in the epic as a whole.
      I have seen that actually happen. After years of persuading to let me tell the story of Mahabharat, daughter has finally started asking questions and wants to know the story 🙂
      Peter Brooks’ Mahabharat? Must check that out. Thanks Indi. 🙂

      • Reply
        indrani robbins
        May 17, 2015 at 11:14 pm

        hi durga, i hope this one works out. peter brook’s mahabharat was a massive undertaking in the late seventies early eighties… i was watching abit… starts to feel disjointed and somewhat stilted… but there are lovely parts and there is poetry in the rhythm, often. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mayuri Hirani
    July 25, 2016 at 4:56 am

    I am currently watching the show on Netflix with English subtitles and I am based in London, UK.

    My whole family are hooked onto the show, as am I who isn’t religious at all but liked the details on each characters.

    I have tried to research on Internet to find out whether the show’s content are based on true story and whether where I can find these content in the written version of books.

    • Reply
      Mahendra Singh
      September 25, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Ms. Mayuri, the contents are not a part of any book. It is an analysis of the epic story and this analysis can be attributed to the producer/director/script writer of the serial. You read the epic and you will form a series of questions on the happenings and the characters, which you have to answer yourself – this is the beauty of Mahabharat. Incidentally, as far as I know, there is no court where the mythological god Chtragupta presides. When one dies, Yama takes you to Chitragupta who has a complete record of your life and has the sole responsibility of deciding if you go to heaven or hell. A mention of Chitragupta is in the epic as far as I remember from the time I read the book. I read the 7 volume version in Sanskrit with Hindi translation from Gita Press.

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Hello Mayuri. The show is based on the epic poem, Mahabharata. There are many written adaptations available online. Also a translatuon of the Sanskrit poem in English is available in pdf form.
    What is new in the show is the courtroom-like drama that is created thus revisiting the Mahabharata in an unique manner. Most of the back stories that the characters provide backing their decisions, good or bad, are part of the original story.
    Now whether to believe that the Mahabharata is based on true historical events or whether it is part of stories being passed down since thousands of generations to impart moral values, is upto the individual.
    But whichever way, the Epic does provide an intetesting story line and the side stories help to understand the characters better.
    I feel Dharmakshetra, with its unique narration, has managed to create an interest in the story.
    Btw, there is another show on Epic channel called ‘Kahi Suni’ which will talk of some places where it is believed that some of the events in Ramayana and Mahabharata have taken place.

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