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Book Review: ‘Dwapar Katha: The Stories of the Mahabharata’ By “Sudipta Bhawmik”

Title: Dwapar Katha: The Stories of the Mahabharata
Author: Sudipta Bhawmik
Pages: 608
Genre: Self-Help
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 01 December 2023
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

Dr. Sudipta Bhawmik is an award-winning playwright, actor, and director and has written several plays in Bengali and English. Sudipta’s plays tell the stories of the struggles and contradictions of the first-generation Bengali immigrants (and their children) with their divided loyalties. This unique contribution to Bengali Theater has inspired several theater scholars to cite Sudipta’s plays in their scholarly work about Diaspora theater.

His plays have been produced and staged in the USA, UK, Bangladesh, and India, and have been translated and produced in several Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, and English. Major theater journals in India publish his plays and has four books (in Bengali) to his credit. “Dwapar Katha” is his first book in English. He is also the writer, director, and performer of the popular podcast “The Stories of Mahabharata” on which the book is based. Sudipta lives in New Jersey and is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America. Trained as a professional engineer, Sudipta received his Ph.D, M.Tech, and B.Tech degrees from I.I.T Kharagpur.

The Mahabharata, one of India’s most cherished epics, has fascinated generations. The age-old saga of warring cousins-the valiant Pandavas and the formidable Kauravas- has left an indelible mark on our collective imagination. Yet, beneath the stories of valor and villainy lie complex human emotions that challenge our ideas about ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Can the virtuous always conquer the malevolent? Are the Kauravas truly the embodiment of darkness, while the Pandavas exude righteousness? Does Dharma triumph in the end?

In Dwapar Katha: The Stories of the Mahabharata, Sudipta Bhawmik delves deep into the intricacies of human nature as he explores the psyches of an eclectic cast of characters, unearthing their motivations and desires. He immerses us in their ceaseless inner struggles on a battlefield more profound than Kurukshetra. Feel the seething anger of Bheem as he rages against the silent Yudhishtir during Draupadi’s disrobing and grief with Duroyadhan when he loses his dear friend Karna in the war. Explore the concepts of Dharma and Karma along with the Pandavas, as Sudipta unearths age-old tales of the Vana Parva, where rishis share life lessons with the exiled Pandavas.

Rooted in Sudipta’s immensely popular podcast, which has recorded over 20 million downloads, Dwapar Katha is a delight to read. The captivating prose and stunning illustrations breathe new life into this timeless tale where darkness and light intertwine and heroes are often indistinguishable from villains. The Mahabharata has never been more enchanting, thought-provoking and alive.

Book Prelude..!!

Mahabharata is an epic poem composed written, recited, and presented by Rishi Vyasa also known as Krishna Dwaipayana and Veda Vyasa. Mahabharata is the tale of humanity, the story of humankind, the saga of warring cousins, the exhibition of dharma and karma, marvelous amalgamation of dramatic and tangible chronicles.

Dr. Sudipta Bhawmik, A serialized story-telling of the ancient epic of India who has countless accolades and recognitions worldwide. His expertise in presenting complex epics and books/concepts of ancient origin as podcasts is commendable and equally spellbinding. Being an unfeigned follower of almost all of his plays and podcasts I always wanted to have a written presented his iconic and quintessential series “The Stories of Mahabharata”, a whooping 40 million plus downloaded popular podcasts. “Dwapar Katha” By Dr. Sudipta Bhawmik is a written facsimile of the podcast with additive illustrations, enraptured poetic exposition, and enchanting melancholy of dexterity.

Book Delineation..!!

For a delightful read, I recommend you to read this book keeping your apprehension of Mahabharata aside. This will help in gratifying and discerning the presenting skills of Dr. Sudipta and exemplary demonstration of engrossing prowess.

Book Tone..!!

This book is presented as an event-based chapter split up coinciding with the style of podcast partitions. Spread across 77 chunks from Vyasa seeking the assistance of Ganesha to pen down the verses as per Brahma’s recommendation till the Pandava’s final departure. Being read and understood with ample market available Mahabharata, undoubtedly this book will catch the eye of modern-day professionals, and young adults and as a filtered bedtime story. For the old-timers like me who read and inferred this epic marvel will find it scantily dawdle.

My Grasp..!!

Though Mahabharata tales aren’t new to India and Indian origins especially those who practice Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma, Dr.Bhawmik unveiled different dimensions of folklore through his captivating writing styles. On the other hand, I love to appreciate the style of writing and competent lingo. This book was neatly dissected based on the major events in the lore. Notably, each chapter lasts for three to four pages, psychologically readers don’t miss continuity after pausing the read.

My Views..!!

In the age of fast forwarding world, books like this are genuinely uplifters to our souls and act as reminisces to cherish and connect our souls. Though this work is a retaliation to a popular podcast based on the abridged version Bengali version of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa’s Mahabharata, translated by Rajsekhar Basu and Bibek Debroy’s version of Mahabharata, the author commendably drafted this book with his own version of reprise.

Carrying the emotions that the tale demands like vengeance, power, love, approbation, friendship, betrayal, righteousness, humanity, tumult, forcefulness, brawniness, avarice, war, prestige, integrity, and so on. The author took utmost care balancing bountiful vehemence and fervor. I personally admire the author’s ability and expertise in presenting this book with decent composure and captivation.

This is the second book that I read that had the illustrations designed by Shri Onkar Fondekar, a freelance Artist/Illustrator from Goa living in Mumbai Skilled in Art Direction, Photography, Logo Design, and Advertising. His artistry in the fine art industry is undoubtedly top-notch. Images illustrated in this book elevated the storytelling and rocketed the book’s melancholy.

My two personal picks of Onkar’s sketches from this book are Vishwa Roopa Darshan (Krishna revealing his true form) and Pandava’s exile into the forest. Personally, both pictures are exuberant cum buoyant

Conclusion..!!

This book is for those who wish to read and explore our ancient epics and to gift for your friends and family especially Young Adults and for those who love to explore Indian Mythology. I personally don’t recommend this book to mature readers and to those who explored Mahabharata storytelling by eminent storytellers.

“Dwapar Katha” uncovers the age-old folklore that establishes the win of good over evil. This book equally supplies the motivation and inspiration from almost every character written by Bhagwan Vyasa. Your thirst for mythical proclivity towards Mahabharata ends here.

Quote(s) Pick..!!

  • Do not doubt the power of truth and righteousness. And never ever condemn our lord, the almighty God
  • Wise men are kind to those who surrender, even if they are not a friend.
  • Whenever you find strength, beauty, might , and knowledge, rest assured that they have sprung from Krishna.

This review is powered by the Blogchatter Book Review Program.

Links & FootNote..!!

My HandleKiran_Kumar_Adharapuram
Author Handle: Sudipta Bhawmik
Illustrator Handle: Onkar Fondekar
You can also explore my works -> Here
My Non-Fiction Book Reviews -> Here
My Fiction Book Reviews -> Here
My Self-Help Book Reviews -> Here

8 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘Dwapar Katha: The Stories of the Mahabharata’ By “Sudipta Bhawmik”

  1. These stories present a captivating retelling of the epic Mahabharata, weaving together its timeless narratives of love, honor, and destiny. With vivid prose and deep insight, Bhawmik transports readers into the rich tapestry of ancient India, offering a fresh perspective on the profound teachings and moral dilemmas embedded within this revered epic.

  2. The Mahabharata is an epic in the true sense of the World. I have been fascinated by it since early childhood and have read different versions multiple times. However, I have ended up learning some unknown nuances, every time. This book seems to have a different take on the epic and an interesting read.

  3. The Mahabharata is truly an epic, and my fascination with it dates back to my early childhood, I think many will connect with it. Loved learning about the author’s background and how he brings the epic to life. Your summary of the book’s exploration of human emotions in the Mahabharata is so interesting. The podcast connection and cool illustrations make it even better. Thanks for sharing this great review!

  4. Will surely recommend this to my friends who are into Indian mythology. If not them, I’m sure they will want their kids to learn a thing or two from this type of book. Thank you for the review.

  5. Sudipta Bhawmik’s ‘Dwapar Katha: The Stories of the Mahabharata’ offers a captivating exploration of the epic. The fresh perspective and storytelling brilliance make it a must-read for enthusiasts.

  6. A commendable review that beautifully captures the essence of “Dwapar Katha.” The detailed insights into Sudipta Bhawmik’s storytelling, the book’s structure, and the enchanting illustrations provide a thorough understanding of its appeal. This insightful commentary is a great encouragement for readers intrigued by Indian mythology and seeking a well-crafted narrative.

  7. “Your review of ‘Dwapar Katha: The Stories of the Mahabharata’ is a literary treasure! 📖✨ The way you capture the essence of Sudipta Bhawmik’s work reflects a deep understanding and appreciation for the epic tales. Your insights have sparked my curiosity, and I’m excited to dive into this retelling of the Mahabharata. Thanks for the thoughtful and compelling review! 🌟

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