Claudia Mayer

The Mahabharata and The Ramayana

The Mahabharata and The Ramayana

Two full-cast BBC Radio dramatisations based on the classic Indian epics


Full-cast dramatised retellings of the two most important epic Sanskrit poems of ancient India

The Mahabharata and the Ramayana are literary classics, the longest epic poems in world literature, as significant as the Bible, the Qu'ran and the works of Shakespeare. Estimated to have been composed over a period of time around the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, they encompass some of the greatest stories ever told - tales of the deeds of gods and men, and the eternal battle between good and evil. Included here are full-cast BBC Radio adaptations of both, directed by award-winning producer Claire Grove and with original music by acclaimed composer Niraj Chag.

Viewed from the perspective of one of the central characters, Yudhishtra, The Mahabharata recounts the struggles of a divided family as they fight over their inheritance and destroy the very thing they seek most - a peaceful and harmonious land. Exiled for 13 years, Yudhishtra knows his cousin will never give up the throne. War is inevitable - but which side will Krishna be on? Paul Battacharjee, Nitin Ganatra and Raad Rawi star in this intimate, accessible reimagining by Jatinder Verma and Claudia Mayer.

One of the world's most popular love stories, The Ramayana centres around the separation and reunion of Rama and Sita. When Sita first glimpses the beautiful Prince Rama, she determines to marry him or die. She wins his heart - but his stepmother's plot sees him banished from his position as heir to the throne. Exiled, he retreats to the forest, where Sita is abducted by a ruthless warlord. Rama enlists the help of an army of monkeys to get her back - but has she betrayed him with the evil ruler of Lanka? Manjinder Virk stars as Sita, with Lloyd Thomas as Rama in Amber Lone's distinctive modern version of the ancient legend.

Also included is the 5-part series Let's Talk About Rama and Sita, in which award-winning poet and broadcaster Daljit Nagra takes stories from The Ramayana into his community and finds the ancient tales alive with contemporary Asian dilemmas. Are Rama and Sita useful role models for men and women nowadays? How is the duo's relationship relevant to marriage today? And what lessons can the Indian epic teach us about loyalty and betrayal?

Produced and directed by Claire Grove
Music composed by Niraj Chag

The Mahabharata
Yudhishtra - Paul Bhattacharjee
Krishna - Nitln Ganatra
Bhishma - Raad Rawi
Dhirtrashtra - Sam Dale
Duryodhana - Zubln Varla
Arjuna - Paul Bazely
Bhima - Danny Sapani
Draupadi - Sasha Behar
Gandhari - Sudha Buchar
Kunti - Indira Joshi
Shakuni - Jude Akuwudike
Uttara - Saikat Ahamed
Dramatised by Jatinder Verma and Claudia Mayer
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 4-18 February 2007

The Ramayana
Sita - Manjinder Virk
Rama - Lloyd Thomas
Lakshman - Adeel Aktar
Ravan - Paul Bhattacharjee
Surparnaka - Sasha Behar
Dasarath/Sugreeva - Jude Akuwudike
Sister/Mandodari - Deeivya Meir
Bharat - Saikat Ahamed
Hanuman - Kulvinder Ghir
Kush - Omar Kent
Lava - Neil Reynolds
Dramatised by Amber Lone
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 31 October-7 November 2010

Let's Talk About Rama and Sita
Presented by Daljit Nagra
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 24-28 February 2014

© 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd