BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Sudipta Bhawmik, of Bridgewater, and Avi Ziv, of Hopewell, two electrical engineers, use the Internet Podcasting technology to tell one of the oldest stories in the world, the Mahabharata.
The stories are presented in English using a dramatic storytelling form with accompanying soundtrack. The podcast is available for free on iTunes under the title “The Stories of Mahabharata” and on Stitcher Radio. The stories can also be streamed from http://nynjbengali.com/mahabharata-2. The audio drama is also broadcast on EBC Radio (1170 AM) on the first, third and fifth Saturdays of the month.
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana. It is the longest known epic poem and has been described as the longest poem ever written. Its longest version consists of more than 100,000 shloka (a couplet) or more than 200,000 individual verse lines and long prose passages. About 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly 10 times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Ramayana.
“The new generation, the millennials, need to know the stories of the Mahabharata.” said Bhawmik, the writer, director and story teller. “Most Gen Xers of Indian origin have grown up with these stories. They have read the books or watched the televised versions. But the millennials don’t have the time to read the books or watch television serials. They prefer a medium that is portable, mobile, and accessible anywhere, anytime. Podcasting is the technology that meets their needs. They can fast download the episodes on their smartphones or iPods using Wifi or 4G wireless, and listen at their convenience - during their commute, jog, or workout.”
"The characters of the Mahabharata reach for the best technology of their time and so do we." added Ziv, audio engineer, sound designer and composer/musician. "High quality audio hardware and software are more and more affordable, which leaves your imagination and dedication as the only limits to what is possible. The entire production is done on a powerful computing platform, using an array of sophisticated software for recording, editing, sound design, and composition. Sounds are gathered from sources across the Internet as well as created on our own. This is an exciting time in modern audio-drama production. The mainstream media is not paying attention yet but a growing network of producers and listeners is out there."
Innovative use of social media is helping the producers reach out to listeners around the world.
“The podcast has listeners signed up from Nepal, Indonesia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and many other places.” said Bhawmik. “The universal message of the stories crosses all boundaries. Like all great art and literature, The Mahabharata has the power to bring people together with better understanding and tolerance for each other.”
Bhawmik, a resident of Bridgewater, is an acclaimed playwright, actor and director. His plays have been performed in many countries around the world in several languages. He has two books to his credit. He has also acted and directed several plays and received many awards. Bhawmik hosts the popular EBC Drama Club radio show on the EBC Radios in New Jersey. Bhawmik is also an electrical engineer and holds a Ph. D degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India.
Ziv, a Hopewell NJ resident, is a life-long musician playing traditional acoustic music. The recording studio serves Ziv as a platform for experiments in sound design and electronic music. Audio-drama production emerged as a way to combine all the above obsessions as well as the love for a good story and theater. Ziv spends his daytime as an engineer in cellular communication technology.