Arun Divakar's Reviews > രണ്ടാമൂഴം | Randamoozham

രണ്ടാമൂഴം | Randamoozham by M.T. Vasudevan Nair
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Nov 13, 10


Strong,compassionate & empathetic. This work stands like a colossus on the shores of Malayalam Literature. The worlds knows Bheema of the Mahabharatha as a beast of war, the elder brother was a paragon of virtue and the casanova-esque thrid brother was a super star all over. Bheema was treated as a bozo who lumbers around with a club bashing up the brains of the Kauravas in TV and in books. How many of these writers saw the hurt & pain being marked a moron gave Bheema ? How many of them saw Bheema the father ? The son ? The Husband ?...not many did. It took an MT to look beyond the stereotypical labels and bring out the human being in Bheema.

Randamoozham ( for those uninitiated in malayalam, this means "the second round") is by far one of the best literary works I have had the pleasure of reading. Based on the Mahabharatha, it tells the entire epic from the viewpoint of Bheema. Bheema is a most unlikely protagonist in the sense that nothing but his brawn sets him apart. Once when asked about his inspiration for such a work MT replied that the pregnant pauses placed by Vyasa in the Mahabharatha made him think of such a work. Chapters in the Mahabharatha end in places which poses a lot of questions for us & contradictions are galore as in any epic. In one instance the warrior code of the Kshatriyas state that it is the warrior who kills the maximum of the enemies is the one entitled for the crown. If such was the case, Bheema would have been the king but it is his brother who ends up becoming one.

The most manipulative of ladies in literature Draupadi dances him to her whims and Bheema ends up accepting the fact that she played him along all the way. The most powerful of scenes is the one where Krishna walks into the army camp after the death of Bheema's half-demon son in battle, seeing the camp in sorrow Krishna proclaims " good that he died of Karna's hand else it should have been my hand some day". Quite natural for a King to say about a demon but he said this within earshot of the father who stood looking at the body of his slain offspring. This was from the mouth of a man who lectured his friend on the fact that the soul was just a sort of dress for the human body. A few days after this, Krishna is beyond grief when his own nephew is slain in battle, this is one of those acute observations the author makes in te pages.

MT gives the tale a human touch withouth adding any of the mythos or making any character less human than what it actually could have been.The language is powerful & moving and i reread this more than once. With time I am sure I will read this again & again..Just one of those works which is beyond the realm of literature for me.
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Julia (new)

Julia Hi Arun, as I'll be in Kerala this winter, I'm thinking about getting a copy of this book there then (via internet it's outrageously expensive here) - do you think it's "readable" for a European not too enlightened on the Mahabharata and its heroes and the Malayalam society / tradition in general?


Arun Divakar Hello Julia, a basic understanding of the Mahabharatha and its characters could definitely help in understanding the entire gamut. As for the Malayalam society, the author looks more from a national/global perspective. The characters would be home as much in Delhi as in Kerala or anywhere on the globe. My point being that the tale is etched on the canvas of intense emotional tensions between the various characters of legend...Hope you enjoy your stay in Kerala..:)


message 3: by Prashanth (new)

Prashanth Kumar Don't know if I am wrong or right. There is another great Kannada writer SL Bhyrappa, who has written a book by name Parva. Parva retells Mahabharata in a non mythological sense and also looks at the war from the perspectives of Kunti, Bhima, Draupadi, Bhishma, Dronacharya, Arjuna among others. All the characters in the book are human with no majic or divine virtues in them. Krishna is a king of Dwaraka with extraordinary thinking ability. Although I admit to not have read this book, was fascinated by portraying Mahabharata characters as human.


Arun Divakar @Prashanth : I have read the book but not completely.It is one of those books that sits silently on the shelf.One thing about the book that was most alluring was the well grounded sense of reality.There needs to be more such efforts is what I think. It is one of the most human of epics and needs to be explored with a lot of imagination powering it.


Riku Sayuj Oh Boy! I will steal this from you one day!


Riku Sayuj Riku wrote: "Oh Boy! I will steal this from you one day!"

Bhimsen right?


Arun Divakar Riku wrote: "Riku wrote: "Oh Boy! I will steal this from you one day!"

Bhimsen right?"


Yep...the very same man ! :)


Riku Sayuj have you read the english version? Could you tell me how much Panicker deviated from MT?


Arun Divakar I am yet to read the English version. That is one thing I have to do. One thing that MT did do was to stir the interest in me to read the version by Kisari Mohan Ganguli. Have you read that variant ?


message 10: by Riku (new) - rated it 5 stars

Riku Sayuj Arun wrote: "I am yet to read the English version. That is one thing I have to do. One thing that MT did do was to stir the interest in me to read the version by Kisari Mohan Ganguli. Have you read that variant ?"

That is probably the longest version :) I don't think i can even count to such numbers


message 11: by Arun (new) - rated it 5 stars

Arun Divakar Lol...the Malayalam version I have is some six volumes & 6500 pages long. I hope to someday finish it..


message 12: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul Sebastian Good review there! Happy to see somebody who is reading Mahabharata story as well. I am in an attempt to read it and completed 3 vol.s already and 3 to go...

By the way, I will suggest you to read 'Karnan' by Shivaji Sawant, which is a translated version of his 'Mrityunjaya' in Marathi....I was fascinated by that as well...


message 13: by Arun (new) - rated it 5 stars

Arun Divakar Paul wrote: "Good review there! Happy to see somebody who is reading Mahabharata story as well. I am in an attempt to read it and completed 3 vol.s already and 3 to go...

By the way, I will suggest you to r..."


Thank you Paul ! Yes, I have read 'Karnan' and P.K.Balakrishnan's 'Ini njan urangatte'. Still haven't gotten around to reading V.T. Nandakumar's 'Ente Karnan' but that is definitely on my to-read list.


message 14: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul Sebastian That means you are an avid reader of novels based on myths. Me too have read 'Ini Njan Urangatte' and liked it. Ente Karnan is a kind of incomplete work. The novel was written for I think Kunkumam magazine and the writer was tried to elaborate and it got discontinued the publication. Then the author didn't complete it, but published with whatever is written to make it as a half work to the extend that I went to DC book and complained, I got a half book, where is the full book. (Lol!!!) Anyway, three other books I can suggest is, Draupadi/Yajnaseni by Prathiba Rai (Panchali's perspective0, Kunthi by Rajan Thiruvoth (Kunthi's perspective)& The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banarji (Panjali's perspective with related to Karna).


message 15: by Arun (new) - rated it 5 stars

Arun Divakar Paul wrote: "That means you are an avid reader of novels based on myths. Me too have read 'Ini Njan Urangatte' and liked it. Ente Karnan is a kind of incomplete work. The novel was written for I think Kun..."

Have read Pratibha Ray's book. Will try out the other two surely. Thanks for the recommendation ! Let's see how Nandakumar's book turns out to be.


message 16: by Sam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sam Loved it!!!!!!!! Thank you for the review


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