The combination of different genres of drama and Sanskrit resulted in a unique amalgamation that gave us the literary treasure of Sanskrit dramas and Sanskrit plays. The famous dramatists of Sanskrit literature were Kalidasa, Bhasa, Shudraka and Asvaghosa who gave us many famous Sanskrit plays. With the revival of Sanskrit theater in modern times, these Sanskrit plays are gaining much popularity again among Sanskrit scholars and theater enthusiasts. Given here are some famous Sanskrit plays that are worth a read.
Abhijnanasakuntalam is a beautiful tale of love and romance, the name literally meaning 'Of Sakuntala who is recognized by a token'. Written by one of the greatest poets of India, Sakuntalam is synonymous with its author, Kalidasa. Abhijnanasakuntalam is the first Indian play ever to be translated into western languages. It is for the very first time translated in English language by Sir William Jones in the year 1789. Later to this, there were at least 46 translations of this play by Kalidasa in 12 different European languages.
The first play composed by the great poet Kalidasa is Malavikagnimitram. Often it is called Kalidasa Malavikagnimitram, as an honor to Kalidasa. This beautiful play of intrigue grips its readers and keeps them glued till the very end. The plot of the play is cleverly constructed and it revolves around the King's love interest who is a maid in the royal palace. The construction of love plots and many incidents that make the story move further are commendable and are beautifully described, without deviating from the central theme.
Raghuvamsa play is a literary magnum opus written by the famous poet Kalidasa. The play is synonymous with the creator and is often called Raghuvamsa Kalidasa. The play basically traces the roots of the great lineage of Lord Rama and his descendants and the great conqueror Raghu. Raghuvamsam basically talks about the valor and strength of the great warrior Raghu. It is the story of some of the great warrior kings ever born on the Indian soil.
Written by the most famous poet Kalidasa, Vikramorvasiyam is a play
that tells the tale of a mortal king Vikramaditya who is in love with a
heavenly damsel, Urvashi. It tells the story of his effort and
determination and how he wins the love of the divine nymph, who is
supposed to be the most gorgeous heavenly fairy. Out of desperation, the
king wanders through dense forests in search of his love. A truly
intriguing tale of love and possessiveness, it contains beautiful verses
that describe true love.
Regarded as one of the earliest Indian plays written in Sanskrit,
Mrichakatika is a beautiful play by Shudraka. The play is a comedy set
in the royal backdrop in which love and mistaken identity play a part.
Translated in English, the name means little clay cart. It was written
around the Gupta Period in Sanskrit.
Written by the sage Bharata Muni, this beautiful text was written in
Sanskrit around 400 B.C. The text contains information on the minutest
details that should be taken care of during dance. Thus, it can be said
that Natya Shastra is set of rules and regulations that are implemented
in fine arts in India. The Natya Shastra is the first known text on
dance and it has had a strong impact on classical dance forms in both
olden and modern times.
Bhasa's plays are generally shorter as compared to other epic poems and
plays. This great Sanskrit dramatist lived before Kalidasa and wrote
many short plays that are staged even today. Most of his plays were
based on the two major epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Most of his
plays have graphic depictions of violence, something that was frowned
upon by the Natya Shastras. Some of his famous plays are
Madhyamavyayogam, Urubhangam, Karnabharam, Pancaratram, among others.