New Delhi, May 29 : Indian mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik believes that mythological stories are timeless and deals with a 360 degree view of large characters; adding people love them. This is the reason why almost all the mythological shows of the past have made a come-back on TV during the lockdown and the re-run of Ramanand Sagar's "Ramayan" broke all the records of viewership.
The author has collaborated with Audible Suno to create an audio show called "Suno Mahabharata Devdutt Pattanaik ke Saath", which is a narration of the Mahabharata in under six hours.
In an interview with IANSlife, Pattanaik shares more about the show, his experience of doing a show in audio format and more. Excerpts:
Tell me more about 'Suno Mahabharata Devdutt Pattanaik ke Saath'? How and why was it incepted?
Pattanaik: 'Suno Mahabharata Devdutt Pattanaik ke Saath' is an aural, new retelling of the 18 episodes of the Mahabharat right from the beginning to the end in my own voice. It was an idea proposed by Audible Suno. They wanted a simple narration of the story, in a way everyone could understand and consume. They wanted it to be in my own style in both Hindi and English and so they approached me a couple of months ago and I decided to adapt Mahabharat for audio. I have never done a full aural narration and it requires a lot of new skills and learnings. It was a challenge but I decided to do it because I thought it was an exciting opportunity.
Almost all the mythological shows have made a comeback on TV during this lockdown and people have been loving it. What is the reason behind mythology being watched so much? Pattanaik: People love mythology because it's timeless and it deals with a 360 degree view of large characters. They help us understand and make sense of our lives, and also connect us with our roots. That being said, we don't really understand the complexities of the story and therefore they look to television versions of the "Ramayan" or the "Mahabharat" to get that.
Do you think this epic tale of Mahabharat which is in audio form will get the same response? Pattanaik: I think during the lockdown people and entire families are together. I believe that they would want to sit together and understand the story, listen to it, and get behind the deeper meanings of it all. I think that is going to get a decent response. I'm not sure if it will get the exact same response, because with the TV shows there is some sort of nostalgia. There is no visual, it's just aural, which is an entirely different experience from when you are watching something. So I think it will be interesting to see the response.
How is the impact of an audiobook and audio shows different from a normal book? Pattanaik: An audio show is very different. You have to not only prepare the text, but you have to narrate it, read it out a few times, get into that flow to get it right. It takes a while until you get it perfectly right. Then the editing happens in post-production, and add the music to create the final piece, so it's actually quite exhausting. I didn't realise how you can't really speak for more than an hour at a time into the mic, because of how tired you get. I'm yet to receive a response to the audio shows but I have realized that it's a very different audience which like the audiobooks. People who read and consume audiobooks are different from people who like to read.
How are you spending your time during lockdown? What are you reading/writing about? Pattanaik: During the lockdown, I think I have a busy schedule. I read, I write, I've been doing a lot of research for new content and topics. I've been doing a lot of webinars for many companies, so I'm quite busy really. Managing the house and just taking care of my health, and that takes a lot of time. So I have created a schedule that helps me cope with everything. I miss socializing, that's a big thing and I didn't realise earlier, but I miss my travelling, which has obviously stopped. Most of my reading and writing revolves around mythology because every evening at 4 o'clock I have a show called "Tea Time Tales" which I have been doing for the last 60 days during the lockdown and that requires a bit of preparation before it happens.
(Puja Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)