"Naga-Mandala" – Drama (Girish Karnad) and Film (T.S Nagabharana). A Comparative Study

Thesis (M.A.), 2013

79 Pages, Grade: 88%



Chapter 1: Introduction and Literature Review
1.1 Introduction
a. About the drama Naga-Mandala
b. About the film Naga-Mandala
c. About Girish Karnad
d. About T.S Nagabharana
e. Drama and the film
1.2 Literature Review
a. Critical Literature on Narrative in Film and Literature
b. Critical Literature on Girish Karnad and Naga-Mandala
1.3 Problem Statement

Chapter 2: Methodology
2.1 Rationale
2.2 Objectives
2.3 Methodology
2.4 Operational Methodology

Chapter 3: Analysis and Interpretation
3.1 Storyline of Girish Karnad’s Naga-Mandala / Storyline of T.S Nagabharan’s Naga- Mandala
3.2 Plot of the drama / Plot of the film
3.3 Characterization
3.4 Narrative Transition
3.5 Narrative Focuses
3.6 Point of View/ Voice
3.7 Symbolism
3.8 Allegory
3.9 Theme
3.10 Time
3.11 Place
3.12 Tone

Chapter 4: Summary and Conclusion
4.1 Summary
4.2 Comparison
4.3 Conclusion



1.1 Introduction

a. Drama and Film (the written versus the filmic medium)

The relation between Indian literature in English and film in India really begins with the making of R.K Naraya’s Mr. Sampath (1949) into a film in 1951 both in Tamil and Hindi, under the celebrated Gemini banner. Several of Narayan’s books have been made into films, the best known of them being Guide (1965), which was made in both English and Hindi. Based on Narayan’s earliest book Swamy and Friends (1935) film was made titled Swamy (1988). (Vaidyanathan, 1996)

Satyajit Ray is another notable figure in this field. Ray’s own adaptations from Indian literary classics are best illustrated by his borrowings from Rabindranath Tagore. Three Daughters (1961) a three part film is based on three of Tagore’s short stories. Charulatha (1964) is another film on a short story and The Home and the World (1984) is also on Tagore’s novel which was published in 1912. ( Vaidyanathan, 1996)

In the western scenario we can also see numbers of adaptations from text to film. From its birth; cinema has been inspired to make film versions on nineteenth and twentieth century novels. By 1921 for example over a hundred adaptations of Charles Dickens novels had already on the screen, 10 of Oliver Twist alone. (Manju Jain, 2009)

In the last 20 or 30 years some of the best American directors have adapted serious novels to the screen. Stanley Kubrick did fine versions of Lolita, A Clockwork Orange and Apocalypse Now. The most dedicated of film adaptors is James Ivory. (Manju Jain, 2009)

Some of the recent research on the adaptations from text to film has been done by some of the students and critics. They are as follows.

Lilian Joesaar, thesis student Department of English from University of Tartu has done a research on Adapting Prose Narrative into Film Narrative, in this paper he has presented comparative analysis of the novel The Remains of the Day by Contemporary Japanese-British writer Kazuo Tshiguro and the film adaption of the same title Directed by James Ivoryand Ismail Merchant.

Bohdan Y Nebesio, from University of Alberta has done a comparative research on the novel Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, by Mykhailo Kotsuibynskyand a film by Sehrii Paradzhanou.

b. Naga-Mandala (play)

The play Naga-Mandala is written by GirishKarnad in 1987-88. The word Naga-Mandala means play with cobra. The play circles around the snake which changes its form into human being to meet its beloved. This is based on the two folk’s tales from Karnad’s mentor A.K Ramanujan. Here the term Naga-Mandala is consists of two words, ‘Naga’ and ‘Mandala’. According to history of culture it illustrates the joining together of male and female snakes. The title of the play Naga-Mandala (play with cobra) is extremely significant. It highlights one of the dramatic character around which the entire story develop. (www.studymode.com)

Karnad dedicates this book to his friend, mentor A.K Ramanujan. He wrote this book during the year he spent at the University of Chicago as visiting Professor and Fulbright scholar in residence. The play was first presented by Shri Shankar Nag in Kannada with his group, ‘Sanket’. Naga-Mandala was premiered in US by the Guthrie Theatre of Minneapolis as a part of its thirtieth anniversary celebrations. The Guthrie and the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, UK have been among the theatres that commissioned Karnad to write for them. (Karnad, 1990)

c. Girish Karnad

Girish Karnad is one of the well-known playwrights and celebrated actor. He entered the film industry in 1969. His first role is Praneshcharya in the award winning Kannada movie by Pattabhirama Reddy. This film was from Anantha Murthy's most famous novel, Samskära (Funeral Rites, 1965).Karnad was a script writer for the movie. This particular movie influenced him in a greater extend and introduced to Kannada culture. From then onwards Karnad has acted in many other movies including other languages. He has also appeared in television screen as actor and also as Media personality. Karnad has also worked as a script-writer and director for several films and also in television. Karnad’s contribution is at a greater high to the theatre. Working for theatre is his primary passion and others are profession. Karnad uses traditional stories to convey his point of view. He focuses more on the cultural context of Indian past. Karnad’s specialty is that he depicts modern perspective in his characters.

Girish Karnad was born in Matheran, near Bombay on 19 May 1938. His full name is Girish Ragunath Karnad. As a youngster, Karnad was a passionate admirer of Yakshagana and the theater in his village. Girish Karnad’s mother tongue is Konkani, adopted language being Kannada and English is his adulthood Language. He is the latest of seven recipients of JnanapithaAward for Kannada (1999), the highest literary honor conferred in India. He was Rhodes Scholar to Oxford, where he received an M. A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (1960-63). He was also President of the Oxford Union, 1963. His writing career already launched in England, Karnad returned to India to work for the Oxford University Press in Madras (1963-70) and to continue writing. Karnad has since then composed many outstanding plays in both Kannada and English. Since1970 he has received many honors in recognition of his dramatic writing, including the Homi Bhabha Fellowship for creative work in folk theatre (1970-72), the Padma Shri Award (1974), the Karnataka Nataka Academy Award (1984), and the Padma Bhushan Award (1992)and won four Film fare Awards where three are Film fare Award for Best Director - Kannada and one Film fare Best Screenplay Award. (www.goodreads.com)

Karnad is also World Theatre Ambassador of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) of UNESCO, Paris. He has served as Director, Film and Television Institute of India; Chairman, Sangeet Natak Academy (The National Academy of the Performing Arts), and Director, The Nehru Centre, London. (Karnad, 1990)

Karnad’s Plays;

Yayathi (1961), Tughlaq (1964), Hayavadana, (1971), Nagamandala, (1988), Agni Mattu Male (The Fire and the Rain), Thaledande ( (Death by Beheading) (1990), Bali: The Sacrifice, OdakaluBimba (Broken Images), Anjumallige (Flowers), Tippuvina Kanasu.


Yaare Koogadali (2012) , Mugamoodi (2012) , Ek Tha Tiger (2012) , Kempe Gowda (2011) , Komaram Puli (2010) Telugu , Life Goes On (2009) , Aashayein (2009) , 8 x 10 Tasveer (2009) , Aa dinagalu Kannada (2007) , Dor (2006) , Iqbal (2005) , Shankar Dada MBBS (Telugu) (2004) , Chellamae (Tamil) (2004) , Hey Ram (Tamil) (2000) , Pukar (2000) , Prathyartha (1999 ), Aakrosh: Cyclone of Anger (1998) . China Gate (1998) , Minsaara Kanavu (Tamil) (1997) , Ratchagan (Tamil) (1997) , The Prince (1996) , Aatank (1996) , Aaghata (Kannada) (1994) , Kadhalan (Tamil) (1994) , Praana Daata (1993) , Cheluvi (1992) as Village Headman , Guna (1991) , Antarnaad (1991) , Brahma (1991) , Chaithanya (1991) , AK-47 (film) (1990) , Nehru: The Jewel of India (1990) , Santha Shishunala Sharif (Kannada) (1990) , Mil Gayee Manzil Mujhe (1989) , Akarshan (1988) , Sutradhar (1987) , Naan Adimai Illai (1986) , Nilakurinhi Poothappol (Malyalam) (1986) , Sur Sangam (1985) , Meri Jung (1985) , Zamana (1985) , Nee Thanda Kanike (Kannada) (1985) , Divorce (1984) , Tarang (1984) , Ek Baar Chale Aao (1983) , Ananda Bhairavi ' (1983), Teri Kasam (1982) , Aparoopa (Assamese) (1982) , Umbartha (Marathi) (1982) , Shama (1981) , Apne Paraye (1980) , Man Pasand (1980) , Aasha (1980) , Anveshane (Kannada) (1980) , Beqasoor (1980) , Ratnadeep (1979), Sampark (1979) , Jeevan Mukt (1977) , Swami (1977) , Manthan (1976) , Nishaant (1975) , Jadu Ka Shankh (1974) , Vamsha Vriksha (1971) , Samskara (1970).

Movies Directed;

Vamsha Vriksha (1971, Kannada) , D.R. Bendre (1972, documentary) , Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane , Kannada , Godhuli (1977, Hindi) , Ondanondu Kaladalli (1978) Kannada , Kanooru Heggadathi, Kannada , Kaadu (1973, Kannada) , Utsav Hindi , Woh Ghar (1984, Hindi), , The Lamp in the Niche (1990) (documentary) , Cheluvi (1992, Kannada and Hindi (Dubbed)) , Chidambara Rahasya (2005, Kannada)

Awards and Honors

For literature

Sangeet Natak Akademi award – 1972, Padma Shri – 1974, Padma Bhushan – 1992, Kannada Sahitya Academy award – 1992, Sahitya Academy award – 1994, Jnanpith Award – 1998, Kalidas Samman – 1998, Rajyotsava Award, D. Litt., Karnatak University – 1994, Honorary Doctorate, University of Southern California, Los Angeles – 2011.

For Cinema

National Film Awards

1972: Best Direction: Vamsha Vriksha (with B.V. Karanth) , 1974: Second Best Feature Film: Kaadu , 1978: Best Screenplay: Bhumika (with Shyam Benegal and Satyadev Dubey) , 1978: Best Feature Film in Kannada: Ondanondu Kaladalli , 1989: Best Non-Feature Film: Kanaka Purandara , 1990: Best Non-feature Film on Social Issues: The Lamp in the Niche , 1993: Best Film on Environment Conservation: Cheluvi , 2000: Best Feature Film in Kannada: Kaanuru Heggadathi.

Film fare Awards South

1972: Film fare Award for Best Director - Kannada - Vamsha Vriksha , 1974: Film fare Award for Best Director - Kannada - Kaadu , 1978: Film fare Award for Best Director - Kannada - Ondanondu Kaladalli.

Film fare Awards

1980: Film fare Best Screenplay Award: Godhuli (with B.V. Karanth) , 1980: Film fare Best Supporting Actor Award: Aasha: Nominated , 1982: Film fare Best Supporting Actor Award: Teri Kasam: Nominated.


Karnataka State Award for the Best Supporting Actor in "Santa Shishunala Shareef" – 1991 , Mysore State Award for Best Kannada film and the Best Direction for VamshaVruksha – 1972 , Gubbi Veeranna Award , Karnad served as the director of the Film and Television Institute of India from 1974–1975, the Indian co-chairman for the Joint Media Committee of the Indo-US Sub-Commission on Education and Culture from 1984–1993, chairman of the Sangeet Natak Academy from 1988–1993, and president of Karnataka Nataka Academy from 1976–1978. , Honorary Doctorate from University of Southern California, Los Angeles – 2011

(www.rangashankara.com), (Dr. Kulkarni, 2010)

d. Naga Mandala (film)

The film is based on the drama Naga-Mandala, scripted by Girish Karnad in 1987-88. ‘Naga Mandala’ is Kannada film directed by T.S Nagabharana and written by Girish Karnad. Movie was released on 31st March 1997. The movie was released under the banner of Yajman Enterprises. The film won many prestigious awards for its content and the cinematography. The movie consisted of 15 tracks which were composed by C.Ashwath the music Director who became very famous thereafter. The film was graded ‘U’ under CBFC (Cinema Board of Film Certificate). The film is 3745 Mts duration. The film touches the most sensitive issues of marital life. It portrays lifestyle, food habits, and routine of medieval period in Karnataka. The movie has a great impact on Indian audience stressing on the concept of Ideal Women. The Hindi film Paheli have been originated from the Kannada film Naga-Mandala. The film was selected for Indian Panorama in the International Film Festival held in 1997.

Awards and Recognitions

Karnataka State Awards

Second Best Film State Award, Best Supporting Actor and Actress Awards, Best Art, Direction Award, Best Photography Award.

Udaya Cine Awards

Best Film Award, Best Direction Award (T.S. Nagabharana), Best Supporting Actor and Actress Awards (Mandya Ramesh and B. Jayashri), Best Female Singer Awards (Sangeetha Katti).

Other Awards & Recognitions

Selected for Indian Panorama in the International Film Festival 1997, Film Fare Best Direction Award, Cine Express Best Director Award, Film Fans Association award, exhibited in nineteen important centers in USA.


e. T .S Nagabharan

T .S Nagabharan is one of the famous directors in Kannada film Industry. He is the recipient of many awards including 8 National, 1 International and 14 state awards for his 20 films. He holds a degree in Science and Law. He was also selected as the Chairman of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy (KCA), Bangalore. He is actor and director and also script writer. He has received a gold medal from the Government of India for his achievement in theatre. He is the founder of a theatre organization called "Benaka". He also proved his mettle in mainstream commercial cinema by directing blockbusters like Janumada Jodi, Naga-Mandala and Chinnari Mutha. His movie Naga- Mandala was screened at the International Film Festival of India held in 1998. He has directed three children's films which received International recognition; his movie ‘Naaviddeve Echharike’ won the State Award and was screened at the International Children's Film Festival. (www.shruthalaya.com)

Kaadu (1973–74) Girish Karnad's film won National Film Award for Best Costume Design for the year , Grahana (1978–79) won Best Film on National Integration, Best Screenplay, and Best Film Gold Medal , Anveshane (1982–83) won the Third Best Film, Government of Karnataka , Banker Margayya (1983–84) won National Best Regional Film award , Asphota (1987–88) won the State Government Best Film Gold Medal , Santa Sishunala Sharifa (1989–90) Nargis Dutt National Integration Award of Government of India. , Naviddive Eccharikke won the best Children's film award from Government of Karnataka (1995–96) , Singaaravva won the National Best Feature Film in Kannada (2002–03) , Kallarali Hoovagi (2006) Best Film on National Integration , Dhwani- Sriranga International Kannada Theatre Award (2009).

Filmfare Award

1988 - Best film Aasphota, 1991 - Best director mysore mallige, 1996 - Best director Janumada Jodi.

T.S Nagabharan Filmography:

1978 Grahana, 1980 Bangarada Jinke, 1983 Anveshane, 1982 Praya Praya Praya, 1983 Banker Margayya, 1983 Onti Dhawani, 1984 Aahuti, 1984 Premayuddha, 1984 Hoysala And Chalukyan Architecture of Karnataka, 1984 Makkaliralavva Mane Thumba, 1984 Sedina Sanchu, 1985 Netra Pallavi, 1986 Nenapina Doni, 1987 Ravana Rajya, 1988 Aasphota, 1989 Premagni, 1989 Sura Sundaranga, 1990 Santha Shishunala Sharifa, 1991 Mysooru Mallige, 1993 Aakasmika, 1993 Chinnari Mutha, 1994 Sagara Deepa, 1995 Naviddive Eccharikke, 1995 Samsmarana, 1995 Americadalli Gorur, 1996 Janumada Jodi, 1997 Nagamandala, 2001 Neela, 2002 Singaaravva, 2003 Chigurida Kanasu, 2006 Kallarali Hoovagi, 2012 Kamsale Kaisale, 2013 Vasundhara.


1.2 Literature Review

a. Critical Literature published on Narrative in Film and Literature

S Chatman (1993), London Cornell University, in his article Story and Discourse: Narrative structure in fiction and film, gives an overview of the area of narratology, while also giving specific examples of how narratives can be analyzed structurally.

Chatman notes that the earlier work by Propp was successful since it tried to make a theory of plot and separated the structure of narrative from its mere manifestations. He agrees with the formalists and structuralists, that the object of the study of narratives is to understand the literary discourse. The task is not to criticize or question but to explore questions such as: What are the ways in which we recognize a presence of a narrator? What is plot? What is point of view?

The narrativesand structures are combined together because Chatman agrees on the three notions of Piaget: i.e. ‘wholeness’, ‘transformation’ and ‘self-regulation’ . He goes on explaining with the reason that narratives are whole because elements are related in more organized way, and narratives include transformations and self-regulations because the transformations, the expression of narrative events, follow certain rules that do not 'go beyond' the narrative. He also adds that the elements become meaningful in narrative. With an example of an artifact which can become a living character in a cartoon since it takes the role of actor. He provides distinction between story and discourse, wherein he says that story is the content of the narrative expression while discourse is the form of that expression.

The two aspects of narratives are explained in this article, i.e. one being the selection and the other coherence. 'Selection’ here means that from the mass of details in the story and ‘coherence’ means that the audience should be able to make assumptions about what is told, here common sense inferences to be true. He speaks about the distinction between the narrator and the author. The narrator might or might not be present in the narrative while the author is not. The author is the real person who is always there.

The structure of a short narrative constitutes the stasis, process, evens, actions, happenings, character, setting etc. The ability of the reader to make inferences from what he sees and according to which he constructs the story. According to Chatman some narrative statements involves the mode of telling i.e. mediating, presenting and other mode of showing, i.e. un-mediating, exposing and mimesis. In simple narratives can exist in media other than language in terms of pictures. Finally Chatman distinguishes between readings and reading out, which means surface reading and the relating surface statements to deep statements i.e. moving between narrative levels and thus constructing the story. (www.jstor.org/stable/2906308)

Lilian Joesaar (2007), thesis student from University of Tartu in his research study on Adapting Prose Narrative into Film Narrative: the case of The Remains of the Day has done a comparative narrative analysis of the text to film the case study of The Remains of the Day.

This thesis presents a comparative narrative analysis of the contemporary Japanese-British writer Kazuo Ishiguro’snovel The Remains of the Day first published in 1989, and the film adaptation of the same title from 1993 directed by James Ivory and Ismail Merchant. The film was nominated for several academy awards in 1994. The book and the film depict life in Britain between the two world wars of the 20th century and explore primary life an English butler presenting also the political, social and historical conditions of the era.

Lilian Joesaar has explained the entire keywords in the introduction part, which is the formal way of any thesis paper. He has compared the film and the novel and main findings of his research is that the film and novel is always presented as the happenings in the past. As both novel and film represent the stories in the past as these events are actually reproduced images, reproduction of physical reality which we tend to take in a present tense mode. He also clarifies the difference between the written form of narrative and the film. Sound effects have an important role in creating the atmosphere in the film. Sound could be a major advantage for any film maker in case of novel; author can only describe sound in words.

Joesaar has pointed out one question which is very relevant for any production of film which borrows the story from the novel. He adds that many theorists have different opinion whether we should look at the film based on the novel as a new and individual work or as an adaptation of a particular source text. The research proceeds with the narrative and narrator of the novel and also analysis of each aspect. The story and discourse in the novel has been analyzed with suitable definitions. Emphasis is given on the narratives and the specific language used in the novel and its historical perspectives, following similar study has been done on the film.

Joesaar has stated that the overall effect resemble omniscience, which typical of the film medium. The analysis shows that the sequence of events is changed in the film as compared to the novel. The difference between the two media has resulted in the media has been compressed and diminished. The main observation is that novel is more open ended than the film.


T.G Vaidyanathan (1996), in his book Hours in the Dark Essays on Cinema, in the chapter Films from Literature (Page-91) speaks about the relation between Indian literatures in English and film in India.

Making of films from literature really begins with the making of R.K Narayan’s MrSampath (1949) into a film in 1951, both in Tamil and Hindi under the celebrated Gemini Banner. Gemini Ganesan one of the Tamil Nadu’s leading starts played the lead role in the film. In the Hindi version Motilal replaced Gemini Ganesan.

Consequently several of Narayan’s books were made into films the best known of them being Guide (1956) which was made both in English and Hindi. Banker Margayya (1983) was made in Kannada based on the film Guide. Recently, Swamy (1988) based on Narayan’s earliest book; Swamy and Friends (1935) was made initially in Hindi and later in English which was screened at the London Film Festival in November 1988. Narayan’ views on the relation between film and literature was in favor of written word.

Satyajit Ray and Narayan share the orthodox outlook. Ray’s own adaptations from Indian literary classics are best illustrated by his adaptations from Rabindranath Ragore, Three Daughters (1961); a three part film is based on three of Tagore’s short stories, Charulatha (1964). Another film The Home and the World (1984) was on Tagore’s novel which was published in 1912.

Ray apart several Indian film makers have adapted novels from various Indian languages into film. Some of the best films on Indian subjects have been produced by the Merchant-Ivory team and two of them, The Household (1963) and Heat and Dust (1983), which had an international cast including Greta Scacchi and Julie Christie, are entirely based on the novels of the German born Ruth Prawer Jhabwala, who was lived in India and married to Indian. (T.G, 1996)

Bruce Morrissette (1965), in his article Narrative ‘You’ in Contemporary Litearture, Volume 2(1), from the Journal Comparative Literature Studies, speaks about the contemporary literature and its changing techniques in narrative mode.

It is the characteristics of evolution of art of fiction that from time to time new techniques are launched involving narrative mode. The best-known recent case of excitement provoked in readers and critics by an apparently new technique of narrative mode is that of Michel Butor's La Modification, first published in 1957. The novel's large circulation focused attention abroad and in the U.S. on its use of narrative "you," widely regarded as "l'innovation de Butor" (Paul Delbouille) and subjected to elaborate critical analysis. In France the vousnarratif of La Modification has been studied at greater or lesser length by Bernard Pingaud, Roland Barthes, Michel Leiris and others.

Now the emphasis falls on determining how old the use of narrative “you” is. In earlier literature, especially in English or English translations of foreign works, "you" had a broad use as a generalized pronoun with a meaning equal to one. The very existence of a widely used pronoun of the third person with a general meaning in French has no doubt retarded the proliferation of the second person in that language and has caused the systematic use of narrative vous to seem more radical than "you" in English.

The use of "you" in narrative appears to have been preceded by the use of "you" by lyric poets. The context is usually narrative, though somewhat generalized: a description of a typical event or one so characteristic of a given situation that the reader can well imagine its suitability. If we take Robert Browning's piece in stylized conversational tone entitled "How It Strikes a Contemporary," where the exchange with "I," far from identifying the poem as one of those Brownian monologues like "My Last Duchess," in which the speaker addresses the poet-listener, tends to give to the pronoun "you" a distinct first-person tonality. Another example of a character within the work using narrative "you" though rather different in nature from the previous, is found in one of the climactic scenes of the film Hiroshima Mon amour. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/40208796)

Wilson George M (2007), in his article Elusive Narrators in Literature and Film, Volume 135(1) from the Journal Philosophical studies, speaks about the narrators in literature and film, and how the two media makes the narrators as different from each other.

In theories of narrative all works of literary narrative fiction include a narrator who fictionally tells the story. On the other hand, it is also granted that the personal qualities of a narrator may be more or less fundamentally effaced. Recently, philosophers and film theorists have debated whether movies similarly involve implicit audio-visual narrators.

In the case of the narrative cinema, there is no comparable agreement that films usually involve an analogue of two- tiered functionality. In fact, it is highly controversial whether a film that presents a fictional narrative normally involves a fictional audio- visual narration of the story, i.e., a fictional presentation of the sights and sounds of the narrative world. The general claim will be that it is fictional in a movie that its shots photographically record, from a certain determinate visual perspective, selected objects and occurrences from the narrative world.


Trivedi Poonam (2009), in her article ‘ Filmi’ Shakespeare (p-228) has commented on the adaptations of Shakespeare’s drama into Indian films.

The Hindi commercial potboiler chooses to borrow lines from an established a figure as Shakespeare is significant. ‘Filmi’ or ‘Film’ ‘me’ Shakespeare, i.e. the combination of the Indian film and Shakespeare. The popular Indian film has in the recent past been subject to considerable critical attention, particularly the embodiment of a public area which is expressive of a people’s desires, quests, and achievements.

Bombay Hindi film has now acquired acceptability, even an authority as a maker in the evolution of a mass culture. It is well known that Indian cinema sprang up on the grounds of the Parsi theatre. Thus contribution and influence of Shakespeare in providing a source of plots, scenes, characters and dialogue is been noticeable.

The earliest Indian cinematic engagement with Shakespeare goes back to the silent era, generally recognized to be, Dil Farosh (1927) based on popular stage adaptation of The Merchant of Venice by the same title by Nehdi Hasan Ahsan. Two other films of the silent era, Khoon-e-Nahak (1928) and Mitha Zahar (1930), were based the adaptions of Hamlet and Cymbeline. With the influence of talkies in the 1930’s and 1940’s, the translation and transition of Shakespearean rhetoric circulated on the stage.

These full-fledged Shakespeare films perhaps more significant and surprising dimension of Shakespeare in the Indian cinema continued circulation in bits and pieces or as an afterlife. This development can be found in diverse mode. It may in the form of fleeting image (silent films), as lines of dialogue, and as fragments of scenes and sequences. The repeated resurfacing of such Shakespearean traces shows that Shakespeare is no longer the other, but exists as absorbed into the cultural imagery of the nation. (Jain M, 2009)

b. Critical Literature published on Girish Karnad and Naga-mandala

Dr. Gitanjali Bhatia (2013), Lecturer in English, University Institute of Legal Studies Ava-Lodge, Shimla, in her article Pioneering the Theatre on Roots, volume 2 (3), discusses Girish Karnad’s works in context to history of Drama and Theatre in India.

On the question of Indian Drama Dr. Bhatia recalls transformation in drama since its inception. Girish Karnad, according to her is one of the famous playwrights who has resolute the inconsistency between tradition and modernity. The playwrights have made a greater task of liberating drama from its colonial models. They balanced two difficult tasks of decolonizing the contemporary drama and finding an alternative modernity.

Folk theatre was totally sidelined during colonial rule. This development automatically boasted the importance of performance while text based western dramaturgy came as back seat. The dramatist started their journey in quest of the models in their cultural past simultaneously scholars and playwrights began to look up to authoritative texts on Indian Theatrical Tradition for the inspiration. Natyashastra one of the universally accepted expositions on theatre was published in Gaekward Oriental Series in 1926. This was the first critical edition edited by M Ramakrishna Kavi, what came to be called “The Theatre of Roots” which was inspired not only with folk theatre but also with ethics of Natyashastra. It is a treatise on dramaturgy written in Sanskrit language. The name consists of two Sanskrit words ‘Natya’, meaning theatre, scenic action or more specifically drama, and ‘Sastra’,

Though Drama and Theatre had a great history in India it suffered a complete blackout during 4th and 5th centuries. This age is also commonly referred to as the Dark Age of the Indian dramatic history. During 18th century we can see kind of growth in the theatrical field with the decline of Sanskrit dramas to increase in modern or classical drama. At the present there has been lot of works of arts written in different languages in India. At the same time there is also growth in translating the literatures which are written in regional language thus establishing a tie between different regions of India. Simultaneously on the other hand some serious literatures have been produced in English language by Indian. This kind development is clearly visible in the field of drama. Among this category Girish Karnad is one of famous playwrights. These playwrights have been created a variety of themes in their plays and contributed significantly to the innovative style.

Theatre of roots is one of the vibrant movements in the history of Indian theatre. Girish Karnad is one of the most central figures in the Theatre of roots. Karnad has acted directed and scripted a number of films and documentaries which have won many prestigious awards. Karnad in his plays tries to bring out the concepts such as evil effects of social deformity at cultural, social and psychological level. Karnad’s special skill is that he can universalize the individual and social dilemma of human beings through the media of drama. This quality of Karnad has given his works a wide appeal.

Mrs. Bhatia has spoken all of Karnad’s works and their speciality. She as speaking of styles of Karnad has also stated that Karnad does not employ the myths in his works entirely but he picks up the threads of legends and folktales that he finds essential. Mrs. Bhatia feels that application of mythopoeic (productive in myth making) criticism is central to the study and analysis of Karnad’s play because it takes the audience far beyond the historical and aesthetic realms of literature. (www.galaxyimrj.com)

Anupama Mohan (2009), in her research paper Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in the Asia and Pacific, issue 22 (p11) speaks of the problematizing aspect of feminism in Girish Karnad’s Naga Mandala.

In this essay Anupama attempts to see how Karnad achieves an interface of history and myth in his play Naga­-Mandala and also analysis the play from feministic approach. The first plot of the play is told by the story of the folk tradition. This concept of framing plot is very unique and this is one of the specialties in Karnad’s style of writing. This style of writing reinforces the orality and per formative aspects of their stories in ways that allow audience engagement. Karnad makes use of myths and folk forms in his plays to showcase socio cultural evils. Karnad in the introduction to the play says that,“The energy of folk theatre comes from the fact that although it seems to uphold traditional values, it also has the means of questioning those values, of making them literally stand on their head.” (Karnad, 1990)

Karnad in his play Naga­-Mandala exposes the male discrimination, women oppression, the injustice done to women in the patriarchal system and also mythical and historical practices in the male domination world.

Commenting on the plot Anupama says that the framing plot of the play has two side: one, it is an ingenious alienation device to remind the audience it is watching a dramatic presentation. It is, indeed, crucial not to leave everything to the audience's common sense. Additionally, the identification of the Flames of the framing plot with young, sprightly, vocal women, and the female gender of 'The Story,' the primary narrative voice of the play, constitutes a compelling device for creating a particularly female context and content in the 'man-oriented' folk tale. Karnad creates within the play the strong association between oral narrative traditions and women's sub-cultures existing within patriarchal societies.

The play consists of the different dramatic situations which keep the audiences alive and engaged. Viewers think they are the part of the play and get carried along with the characters in the play. The concept of story which is existed to be told and a teller is existed to tell is one of the crucial areas which expose the practice of hiding the art of storytelling among women. For women whose stories for years have erased and hidden or submerged in the system of patriarchy. In the play the concepts of the story and the song has a distinct meaning. The point here is not only the old lady has been prisoner in the marriage but also the system which forced her to keep her identity and subjectivity to herself. (http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue22/mohan.htm

Dolly George (2007), in his article Folk Theatre and Human Complexity in Girish Karnad’s Naga-Mandala, volume 7, explores folk theatre and human complexities in the play Naga-Mandala.

Dolly George in his article points out different human complexities in the play. He talks about two folktales out of which this play was born. George also focuses on the stories which were told in bed times and this helps children to understand the reality better and analyze the society for the children as they grow. Stories were also one of the parallel systems of communication among the women in the family.

Karnad had heard that in remote villages those flames have the ability to speak. These flames speak to each other in the female voice. These flames are not mere flames but they represent the entire society. The play is concentrated on the loose morals practiced in the society. The play is associated with the couple Rani and Appanna. They are not given any name in the beginning hence they represent the whole human kind. Rani is so called because she is the queen of the long tresses, which, when tied into a knot, resembled a 'cobra.' Here snake is the symbol of “fertility”. It is because of snake Rani enjoys her marital life with her real husband.

Supernatural elements are core element in folk tales. The first and foremost element is the Love Magical Root, which gives complete turning point in the play. Another important belief is that Cobra has the divine power and it can assume any shapes of its desire. Naga also saves her from punishment where there is no mistake of hers. The important question arrives here is that are human beings really a pawns in the hands of divine or these events certainly occurs by our ‘karma’.

The play includes flames, snake, avatars, performance of impressive ordeals, cremation of the dead snake and also background chorus. Naga-Mandala stays alive with the symbols hidden meanings, open and unspoken lessons, and with each scene. The play starts with curse of dead audience but we end up reading the play certainly as active and alive.



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"Naga-Mandala" – Drama (Girish Karnad) and Film (T.S Nagabharana). A Comparative Study
MA in Communication
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Naga-Mandala, Drama vs film, Girish Karnad, T.S Nagabharana
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Deekshitha R. (Author), 2013, "Naga-Mandala" – Drama (Girish Karnad) and Film (T.S Nagabharana). A Comparative Study, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/298327


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