‘Ms Draupadi Kuru: After the Pandavas’ by Trisha Das was released on 22 August 2016. I now received ‘Misters Kuru: A Return to Mahabharata’ by the same author through the Blogchatter book review program. The book is published by Harper Collins India.
Trisha Das is also the author of ‘Kama’s Last Sutra’, ‘The Mahabharata Re-imagined’, ‘The Art of the Television Interview’ and the internationally acclaimed ‘How to Write a Documentary Script’. She has written and directed over forty documentaries in her filmmaking career. Trisha has also won an Indian National Film Award (2005) and was UGA’s ‘International Artist of the year’ (2003). She has also written columns and short stories for ‘Magical Women’ and several publications.
The book opens with Arjuna making love to a nymph and contemplating his own relationships with his fourth wife Subhadra and his first wife, Draupadi. Later, Subhadra informs Arjuna that Draupadi and Kunti have been reborn on earth. When Arjuna brings this up with his brothers, they decide to follow the two women to earth to bring them back to heaven.
Meanwhile, on earth, Amba seems to be experiencing post-partum depression. Draupadi has joined NPTV and become a talk show host. She even has a stalker! Kunti has become the warden of a home for orphaned children. The Bhartiya Youth Mata Centre from Ayodhya has made a large donation to the orphanage.
Kunti says that aeons ago, she had announced the marriage of her five sons to one woman: Draupadi. But now, she grants Draupadi her “freedom.”
The author places Yudhisthira in a position where he is challenged for his life choices by the public and Yudhishthira explains his stance, marking a stark contrast between then and now. Arjuna chances upon cricket being played and finds out he has a knack for the sport. Narada Muni helps out in the kitchen of the orphanage where Kunti volunteers. Bhima comes face to face with Karan, the reincarnation of his former half-brother, Karna in the orphanage. They start a food business together!
The modern-day setting of Delhi serves for a retelling of the age-old epic that is as colourful as the book’s cover. Some readers would be shocked that Arjuna finds a dildo in Draupadi’s bedroom. Parts of the book are more ‘Veere de wedding” and less Mahabharata, but then this is not a mythological retelling, but a creative retelling of the story using the original characters and setting them in present-day Delhi. Whether it’s Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva going shopping for slim-fit jeans and Nakula saying, “They must have balls of brass these days” or Arjuna feeling itchy “down there” one wouldn’t imagine the heroes of the Mahabharata in such situations.
The author has taken absolute creative license with reimagining the Mahabharata. Humorous situations are aplenty and the author lets her imagination run riot with the cast of characters from India’s oldest epic. Some may not take to this book as they might feel it trivialises the heroes of our epic. One needs to have a whacky sense of humour to enjoy the twists and turns this story takes. The book will appeal to millennials and the less sedate crowd.