Reinterpreting A Classic
Suresh Dhingra
DOOSARE NATYASHASTRA KI KHOJ by Devendra Raj Ankur Vani Prakashan, 2011, 245 pp., price not stated
February 2011, volume 35, No 2

What Bharat wrote about theatre has always been discussed as a theory of poetics by critics like Abhinav Gupta, Dhananjay, Bhatt Nayak, Bhatt Lolak and others. This tradition has travelled right up to our contemporaries like Dr. Nagendra. Did this tradition benefit either poetry or drama, the present author, Devendra Raj Ankur, asks. The concern of a modern practicing theatre worker then naturally, can only be exploring the practical aspects of the theory propounded by the ancient. It was after several centuries after Bharat that dramatists and theatre personalities like Bhartendu and sometime later Jai Shanker Prasad, who deservedly should be credited with revival of the theatre movement in the Hindi belt, wrote about how and what theatre should be. It may be argued that their approach was reactive to the prevailing British theatre and the Parsee Theatre in their respective times and that they wanted to revive the lost Indian theatre. But it is what, perhaps, Bharat wanted to do in his own time and what Aristotle wanted to do in Greece. They all tried to reestablish the banished tribe for its unconventional practices and behaviour and the revive art they possessed; they all had to fight out the established social beliefs and customs and general approach to the very art dramatics, eclipsed by hypocritical attitudes.

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