Sunday, 3 August 2014

Tamil Drama

Of the three divisions of Thamizh literature (முத்தமிழ்) the one which had undergone radical changes in its format and contents since ancient times is the Stage n^Atakat Thamizh,(நாடகத்தமிழ்) 
The stages were used for different types of dances (கூத்து)specific for the regions,e.g.

  1.  Aychiyar Kuravai (ஆய்ச்சியர் குரவை) 
  2. Kuravaik kUtthu (குரவைக்கூத்து),  
  3. KoRRavaik(கொற்றவைக்கூத்து) 

The dances were, in essence an enactment of mythological legends. They were also used for conveying thanks to the deities for good rains and crops or paying homage to the valour or patronage of Kings and chieftains.

iLango atikaL  (இளங்கோ அடிகள்) had portrayed various kinds of dances performed in the different regions(திணை) in several chapters (அரங்கேற்று காதை, வேனிற்காதை, ஆய்ச்சியர் குரவை).The dancers for whom dancing was a hereditary avocation were called ViRaliar (விறலியர்)  and KUtthar (கூத்தர்).. The singers who accompanied them were called PANar (பாணர்).

Even at this early point in history, there was a distinction between the high form of dancing performed before the elites and those meant for the recreation of the rural folks (வேடுவ வரி). When the Bhakthi movement was at its peak, stories pertaining to the god heads were played on the stage. Up to the medieval period, the Thamizh stage was used mainly as a forum for dances.

This tradition continued till the 18th or 19th century when dance dramas;  -
 (ராமநாடகம் - அருணாசலகவி,
 நந்தனார் சரித்திரம் - கோபாலகிருஷணபாரதியார், 
அழகர் குறவஞ்சி - கவிகுஞ்சர பாரதி, கு
ற்றாலக் குறவஞ்சி - திரிகூடராசப்ப கவிராயர்) were performed on the stage.

Other kinds of dance dramas included the PaLLu n NAtakam (பள்ளு நாடகம்) which is the dance drama performed by those in the agricultural sector describing themes specific to agrarian conditions e.g., MukkUdal paLLu (முக்கூடற் பள்ளு)by ennayinAp pulavar (என்னயினாப்புலவர்),
nondip paLLu (நொண்டிப் பள்ளு)by MArimutthup pulavar (மாரிமுத்துப்புலவர்)is a humorous political satire.

With the arrival of the Europeans into the subcontinent, the definition of 'stage' began to assume a different meaning. By this time, Shakespearean plays became popular throughout the English speaking world.
Following this trend, Thamizh authors began to imitate English poets (ShakespeareSheridan) in writing plays in verses involving fictional themes and characters.

Suntharam PiLLai's (சுந்தரம் பிள்ளை) ManOnmaNiam மனோன்மணியம் made history in this regard, though the play was difficult to enact as a play on the stage.
Pammal Sampantha MuthaliyAr (ப.சம்பந்த முதலியார்) considered to be the doyen of the Thamizh stage, wrote the famous play, ManoharA(மனோகரா),  which later appeared as a film with Sivaji Ganesan (சிவாஜி கணேசன்) playing the role of ManOharan. Sampantha MuthaliyAr was the founder of the SuguNa VilAs Sabha (சுகுணவிலாஸசபா) which fostered the growth of the Thamizh stage in the years to come.

Others who have made tremendous contributions to the Thamizh stage in recent times include: Nawab RajamManickam (நவாப் ராஜமாணிக்கம்)
T.K.S. Brothers (டி.கே. எஸ. சகோதரர்கள்),
 R.S.ManOhar (ஆர்.எஸ. மனோகர்).
ChO rAmasAmi (சோ ராமசாமி),
K.A.ThangavElu (கே.ஏ. தங்கவேலு),
and S.V.SEkhar(எஸ.வி.சேகர்).

The introduction of cinemas in the third decade of the twentieth century brought about some remarkable changes in the field of Natakat thamizh. Though the stage is still surviving with expositions of plays with mythological, social, historical or political themes, the films are now dominating the scene. The film industry has become one of the most powerful and influential industries in Thamizh Naddu. Many estimates indicate that more films are made in Thamizh NaAdu than in many parts of the world.

The free flowing literary prose style introduced by C.N. ANNAthurai (அறிஞர் அண்ணாதுரை) and M. Karunan^ithi (கலைஞர் மு.கருணாநிதி), the brand of lyrics popularized by Bharathi Dhasan (பாரதி தாசன்) and Kannaa Dhasan  (கண்ணதாசன்) aptly supported by the histrionic talents of N.S. KrishNan (என்.எஸ.கிருஷணன்)Sivaji GanEsan (சிவாஜி கணேசன்)  and M.G. Ramachandran (மக்கள் திலகம் எம்.ஜி.ஆர்.)and the musical expertise of T.M. Soundararajan(டி.எம். செளந்தரராஜன்)and  P.SusIlA(பி.சுசீலா) are some of the more memorable milestones of the film industry from Drama .