Author: Ankitha Sreenivas, Bengaluru
Published as a part of Śāstra Raṅga-2023 Internship ; offered by NoopuraBhramari- IKS Centre. Article series No – 17
In the 14th chapter of Nāṭyaśāstra ‘Kakṣyāpravṛttidharmivyaṅjaka’, Bharata Muni elaborates on divisions, usages and conventions of dramaturgy.
After dealing with a chapter of Nātyamaṇḍapas, this chapter details on ideas of divisions, placement of characters, dramatic styles, practice methods and such, on the stage.
While Vṛttis (Bhāratī, Ᾱrabhaṭi, Sāttvatī and Kaiśikī) are styles of nātya, Pravṛttis are assigned on dress, languages and customs of various regions. The words Vṛtti and Pravṛtti are used in the sense of Nivedana, done with the acquiescence of the general public. The vṛttis are connected to their corresponding pravṛttis, and are supposed to be understood with differentiation of their features and employment in relevant pravṛttis. This is to be done by the performers to avoid improper usages.
Four usages have been enumerated, and they are to be used in connection of the region in dramatic performances. In dramas, a unity of all four pravṛttis are noticed.
Today, India recognises eight classical dance forms namely Bharatanātyam, Kucipuḍi, Kathakali, Mōhiniyaṭṭam (South), Kathak (North), Sattriya, Maṇipuri and Oḍissi (East); and dance-dramas like Yakśagāna, Bhāgavata Mēlā (South). Ᾱrabhaṭi vṛtti can be seen in forms like Yakśagāna and Kathakali with marvellous gaits and thunderous music, and is accompanied with vibrant, colourful and expressive costumes and facial make-up. Dance forms like Mōhiniyaṭṭam and Oḍissi inculcate Kaiśikivṛtti with graceful movements and pravṛttis of subtle make-up and musical background.
Dr. N.P. Unni, Nātyaśāstra.