India has the longest and the richest tradition in drama. During the age of the Vedic Aryans, drama was performed in a simple way. Different episodes from the Ramayana, the Mahabharta, and the Bhagavad-Gita were enacted out in front of people. It depicts different situations relating to men good, bad and indifferent, and gives courage, amusement, happiness and advice to all of them. When Britishers came in India, the crippled Indian drama regained its strength. In 1920, a new drama in almost all the Indian languages came to the fore, it was a drama largely influenced by prevailing movements like Marxism, Psychoanalysis, symliolism, and surrealism. Indian drama got a new footing when kendriya Natak Sangeet Akadmi was started in January 1953 National school of drama set up Sangeet Natak Akadami in 1959 was another development. The year 1972 was a landmark year for Indian theatre. Badal Sircar, vijay tendulkar and girish karnad have contributed to the modernization of the face of the Indian theatre, these play wrights have made bold innovations and fruitful experiments in terms of both thematic concerns and technical virtuosities.
India has the longest and the richest tradition in drama. The origin of Indian drama can be traced back to the Vedic Period. As a manifestation of our national sensibility Indian drama came into existence as a means of exploring and communicating the truth of things and was popularly pailed as the “fifth Veda” (K.Venkata reddy, R.K.Dhawan: 7)
During the age of the Vedic Aryans, drama was performed in a simple way. Different episodes from the Ramayana, the Mahabharta, and the Bhagavad-Gita were enacted out in front of people. Such type of performance is still very popular in India during the time of dussehra. Bharata’s natyashastra in Sanskrit is the most pioneering work on Indian dance & drama. It displays consciousness of all major aspects of drama, namely stage-setting, music, plot construction, charachterization, diologue and acting. According to legend when the world passed from golden age to silver age, people started getting addicted to sensual pleasure and jealous, anger, and desire. Then Gods, demons, yakshas, rakshas, nagas inhabited the whole world. At that moment, Lord Indra requested God Brahma:
“Please give us something which would not only teach us but be pleasing both to eyes and ears.”(Adya Rangacharya: 1)
God Brahma gave the pious idea of Natya Veda after meditation. He combined the essence of Natya Veda out of the four Vedas, dance from the Rig Veda, song from the Sama Veda, mimicry from Yajur Veda and passion from Athar Veda. Vishwa karma was the celestial architect who builds a stage in Indian heaven and Bharta was the actual manager. Bharta’s ‘Natyashastra’is a detailed treatise that deals with all aspects of the diverse arts and that are embodied in the classical Indian concept of drama including dance, music poetics and general aesthetics. Bharta describes drama as mimicry of the actions and conduct of the people (owashanukri lirnaalym).It follows that only drama uses the eight basic emotions of love, joy, anger, sadness, pride, fear, aversion and wonder. It depicts different situations relating to men good, bad and indifferent, and gives courage,amusement,happiness and advice to all of them, Bharat muni’s own concept of dramatic theory can be quoted in the sixth chapter of ‘Natyashastra’:
“The combination called Natya is a mixture of rasa, bhavas, abhinayas dharmics, vrittis, provrittis, siddhis avaras,instruments, song and theatre -house” (Bharat Gupt: 86)
Sanskrit drama flourished in its glory till the fifteenth century but thereafter Indian drama activity almost came to an end due to certain invasion on India. When Britishers came in India, the crippled Indian drama regained its strength. Thus, the western impact awakened
“the dormant, critical impulse in the country to bring Indians face to face...