The eldest of the Pandavas, Yudhishthira, the son of the god Dharma, and exemple of morality and righteousness, has a weak point: the dice game. Then Duryodhana challenges him to play against his evil and dishonest Sakun. During a dramatic game, Yudhishthira plays and loses, he loses everything: wealth, territory, subjects eventually he plays himself and then his brothers and finally the common wife Draupadi. He loses everything.
Duryodhana claims to be paid, but a dispute turns on. Draupadi does not want to become a servant of the Kauravas, she says that when Yudhishthira played her he had lost himself and therefore he no longer had Draupadi. Queen Draupadi is humiliated, dragged by the hair in the game room. Bhima try to intervene, Yudhishthira stops him. Their dharma is to respect their word. Bhima desists from his intentions, but swears revenge on Duryodhana. At this point, however, the blind king Dhritarashtra invites the Pandavas to go home without demanding what Yudhishthira had lost in the game.
Duryodhana gets angry with his father and so insists on getting back his permission to challenge again Yudhishthira dice. The Pandava - who as a kshatriya cannot refuse a challenge - takes again the challenge despite the bad omens and advice of brothers.
This time he who loses the game will go into exile for twelve years and will live in the forest and the thirteenth year will live in absolute incognito. If he will be recognized during the thirteenth year, will spend another twelve years in exile. Yudhishthira loses the game and is forced to abandon Indraprastha and must withdraw with his brothers and Draupadi in the forest.
Twelve years very hard and tiring spent, austerities and suffering are many. There is still a year to return to public life and take revenge on the Kauravas. This year is perhaps the most difficult, the Pandavas have to spend it in disguise, if anyone recognizes them they will once again retreat into the forest for another twelve years.
The Pandavas decided to offer their services to wise Virata, the king of Matsya, hiding their identity. Yudhishthira masquerading samnyasin, quitting and becoming wise counselor to the king, Bhima becomes chef of the court, Arjuna – due to a curse he must spend a year as a eunuch - provides his services to the harem of the king, Nakula and Sahadeva think about horses and cows in the kingdom and Draupadi becomes the maid of honor of the queen.
Past this thirteenth year, the Pandavas can now return to live in public and appeal to his uncle, the king Dhritarashtra. They don’t want back the kingdom of Indraprastha, but any other territory. But Duryodhana is opposed, he does not want to give anything to the cousins.
The Pandavas not want to wage a devastating war and seek to reach agreement, they send ambassadors, Krishna also tries to reason with Duryodhana, but without success.
There is no alternative to the most devastating war of all time.