Art

A comprehensive overview of Natya Sastra

Koodiyattam artiste Kapila Venu.

Koodiyattam artiste Kapila Venu.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

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First of its kind, a three-day festival on Natya Sastra in Chennai

“My happiness knows no bounds,” says Padma Subrahmanyam about the Natya Sastra Utsav that gets under way today. Naturally, because she has been in the forefront of a campaign to give Bharata Muni’s Magnum Opus its rightful place in the literature of fine arts, performing arts in particular. The temple, a glorious stone edifice, has come up in Pattipulam, a village near Mahabalipuram, thanks to her untiring efforts for the past two decades.

It is at the altar of Bharata that the event will take off this morning. Sangeet Natak Akademi in association with Kalakshetra Foundation and Bharata Ilango Foundation for Asian Culture (BIFAC) has organised the festival. “The festival will showcase Natya and its allied arts through talks, lecture-demonstrations, video screenings and performances. Artistes, who are some of the best in the field have been invited to participate,” says Padma, convenor, who provided the framework for the event. “This is the first time that a national level festival is happening for Natya Sastra. Students should attend the sessions, which will be educative,” says Padma.

“This is indeed a unique opportunity for the Kalakshetra Foundation and the students of Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts,” says Revathi Ramachandran. They will benefit immensely from the seminars and talks arranged by the conference convener Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, a legend in the field of arts. Aspects of theatre, music and dance are being elaborated upon and Kalakshetra Foundation is looking forward to this three-day event,” she adds.

The festival starts at 9.30 a.m., with Shekhar Sen, SNA Chairman, welcoming the gathering. The keynote address will be presented by R. Nagaswami, former Director, ASI, and a veteran in the subject. He will speak on Natya Sastra in the Tamil Soil. The sessions begin at 11.30 with Sandhya V. Purecha (Maharashtra), K. G. Paulose (Kerala) and Padmaja Suresh (Karnataka) presenting papers on different perspectives. A museum visit inside BIFAC at 2 p.m. will bring to an end the activities at Pattipulam.

Puppeteer Anupama Hoskere

Puppeteer Anupama Hoskere   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

The scene will shift to Kalakshetra for performances, 5 p.m. onwards. Purvarangam annd Trigadha by Vineeth and the artistes of Nrityodaya, Krishnanaattam and Kutiyattam by Kapila Venu are on the agenda. “For the first time, Krishnanattam is coming out of the precincts of the Guruvayur temple,” mentions Padma. “The Devaswom kindly obliged for the sake of arts. The genre has to be seen by art-loving people and documented,” she adds.

From December 2, the performances are at Kalakshetra. The stage is the famous Banyan Tree, under which audience can assemble to listen to Sadgurunathan Oduvar recite Thevaram followed by Sopaana Sangeetam (Guruvayur temple). Sumithra Vasudev and Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar will present lectures. Sessions continue from 11 a.m. at Rukmini Arangam and Tagore Theatre at 2.30 p.m. The highlights are Harikatha demonstration by Kalyanapuram Aravamudachariar and Villupattu by Bharati Thirumagan. Evening performances at Rukmini Arangam from 5.30 p.m. are: Therukoothu (Keechaka Vadham by Arumugham’s Thalaikkol Group, Yakshagana and Sanskrit play, Bhasa’s Karna Bharam directed by K.N. Panikkar.

Programmes on December 3 at Kalakshetra will include K.S. Rajendran’s lecture on the ‘Relevance of Natyasastra in Contemporary Theatre’ and Shatavadhani Dr. Ganesh’s take on literature. S. Natarajan will present the Bhagavatamela tradition and Rajshree Vasudevan Abhinava Gupta’s view — all under Banyan Tree, 9 a.m. onwards. Padma Subrahmanyam will present Natyasastra: Unifier of time and Space at 12.20 p.m., Rukmini Arangam. Anupama Hoskere’s puppet show (3.30 p.m.) and Samskrita Ranga’s Sanskrit play, ‘Sakuntalam’ (4.30) will take place t Tagore Theatre.

Revathi Ramachandran will welcome the gathering at the valediction (5.30 p.m.). Sonal Mansingh, veteran Natya artiste and Rajya Sabha MP, will present the valedictory address. The curtain will come down with Kalakshetra’s ‘Mahapattabhishekam,’ choreographed by Rukmini Devi Arundale.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 3:44:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/a-comprehensive-overview-of-natya-sastra/article30123562.ece

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