The Natyasatra of Bharata contains an elaborate analysis of the sources of aesthetic pleasure that one derives from seeing a performance; it treats of the architecture of the theater, exhaustive treatment of metres to be employed, the postures, movements and gestures of actors and of the mode in which they are to deliver their speeches, of the different kinds of dramas, the analysis of the structures of the dramas and their styles. It also furnishes directions about the songs to be sung and the musical instruments to be employed and treats in detail of the musical notes and their combinations. Above all it insists on a high and noble purpose for the drama, forbids indecent behaviour, scenes or language and holds forth before the actors a high spiritual ideal by saying that if the actors dedicate themselves to their work in a spirit of devotion to their art and attain perfection therein, they will be doing a great service to society and will acquire merit for themselves. Hardly any work on dramaturgy in any language has the comprehensiveness, the sweep and the literary and artstic flair of the Natyasastra.
The present second edition with text in Devanagari and Roman script a fresh translation in English and notes based on Abhnavabharati is unique in many ways. Dr. N.P. Unni has spared no pains in the preparation of this magnificent publication.
The drawings and murals of Karanas by K.K. Suresh have made the work a piece of artistic publication.
Dr. N.P. Unni (b.1936) has the unique distinction of being the first candidate to be awarded a Ph.D degree in Sanskrit by the University of Kerala. After a long teaching career in the Govt. Sanskrit College, Trivandrum, he joined the University of Kerala as Curator in the reputed Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library. Later he became Reader in Sanskrit (1972) in the Dept. of Sanskrit and from 1979 onwards he served as Professor and Head of the Dept.; till 1996. Then he become the Vice Chancellor of the prestigious Sree Sankracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, Kerala, for a period of four years.
Dr. Unni has written / edited / commented/published / more than 40 books in the different fields of study like Classical literature, Dramas, and Tantra, Arthasastra, Kerala history, Dramaturgy, Commentatorial literature, Literary criticism etc., etc. His magnum opus is an English translation with text and notes of the Natyasastra of Bharata in 4 volumes. He was awarded the Certificate of Honour by the President of India in 2001.
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