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. To know more about this beautiful play called Malavikagnimitram, continue to read this insightful article on it.
The plot is a comedy that involves romantic relationships between a King and a humble maid. It is the tale of King Agnimitra's love for Malavika, who is an unheard of maid in the royal palace. It is said that this lady was proficient in dance and music. The way situations crop up between them and the way they handle it amidst confusion and jealousy is applaudable. There are many scenes of light hearted comedy, confusion and confrontation that make Malavikagnimitram one of the finest works of Kalidasa.
Thoroughly enjoyable, this play is the first work of Kalidasa. The skill with which he employs comedy, confusion and romance in a potpourri of romantic drama is truly the work of a genius. The smooth flow of the events adds to the continuity of the play. Though the play lapses in some aspect, yet on the whole, it bears the trademark of the workmanship of Kalidasa. Agnimitra, though passionate is a bit passive and uses the help of his minister to help him win over Malavika and make her his queen. This play is a must read if you want to enjoy the purity of literature. The play is basically divided into 5 main acts.
Act I: In the first act two scholars, Ganadas and Hardatt, from the kingdom are shown fighting amongst each other to settle the question of who is more knowledgeable in the field of dance and drama. To solve this conflict King Agnimitra summons the chambermaid Malavika. It is made obvious that the king has some desires for her but he did not want to make them public as yet as he is already married to Queen Dharini. Malavika was a student of Guru Ganadas, one of the best if you will. He thought of using her in case of any competition. This little secret was known to Agnimitra’s childhood friend and the court entertainer Gautam. Gautam also knew about king’s little love crush on Malavika. It was in fact Gautam who sets up a competition between the two gurus so that he gets to see the much talked about Malavika finally. Side by side, a battle is planned against the King of Vidarbha. King’s soldiers had captured his cousin Madhavsen by the. Madhavsen’s sister escaped the capture. Kanchuki takes care of the preperations of the dance competition while Minister Amatya Vahtak prepares for the military attack. The king insists that Madhavsen’s sister, Parivrajika Kaushiki, should be present during the dance competition and her decision will be the final decision.
Act II: Guatam’s plan turns out to be successful and Guru Ganadas chooses Malavika to represent him in the dance competition. She performs a graceful and charming Chhalik playact on a quartet written by Sharmishtha. She looks so beautiful while dancing that the king cannot take his eyes off her. Even her voice enamors him. She sings about a beloved craving for her over. The king starts feeling like she is calling out to him and he loses himself into her song and dance. When she finishes, Gautam sees on king’s face that he was dying to see Malavika smiling. Guatam makes a joke in the court and everyone starts to laugh and Malavika also smiles a little before leaving. This makes the king very happy. He loses all interest in the competition now. He does not really want to see the other dancers. Just when the king thought that he could not take any of this dance competition and cannot bear to see anyone else sing or dance, Vaitalik arrives. He announces the commencement of the lunch.
Act III: Queen Kaushiki’s maid Samahitika and Madhukarika discusses the dance performance of Malavika and comes to a mutual consensus that she is going to win the competition hands down. They are also aware of king’s feelings for her, so is everyone else in the kingdom. Now Malacika and Bakulavalika is sent to stand underneath the Asjpka tree by the chief queen Dharini to perform dohada. Dohada was a ceremony of dancing which has the capacity of making the buds flower soon. The queen does not take part in the ceremony herself as her feet were hurting after a fall from the swing but she promises Malavika that if the tree blossoms then she will grant Malavika a wish of hers. At this time queen Iravati invites the king to come into the pleasure garden and spend some time with her. But the king was worried that he might not be able to be himself in front of his queens now that he had this burning desire for Malavika. But Gautam suggested him to not leave the side of his queens and continue being the same with them. There comes a point where the king, Gautam, Iravati, Bakulvalika and Malavika all come face to face in the pleasure garden.
Act IV: Queen Dharini gets know about the king’s feeling for Malavika. She sends guards to capture Malavika and Bakulavalika and imprison them in the dungeons. It was ordered to not set them free unless someone produces the seal of her ring Nagmudrika, which would mean that it’s an irder by her. It was queen Iravati and her maid Nipinika who informs the chief queen about the feelings of the king for Malavika. The king decides to meet the queen in her chambers where she was getting her feet nursed and burning with anger. Gautam also assures the king that he will think of a clever idea and help in getting Malavika out of the prison. He fakes a snake bite and goes to the royal physician. There is chaos and disorder everywhere in the palace and it is spread out that the physician is asking for a talisman with an image of the snake on it to perform a medicinal ritual on Gautam to take the poison out of his body and save his life. In the disarray, Dharini gives away her ring without making sure where it is going and then the ring is shown to the keepers of the dungeons. Malavika is released.
Act V: The Ashoka tree is in full bloom after five days and the chief queen is now obliged to fulfill one wish of Malavika. In the mean while, the king of Vidarbha had been defeated and Madhavsen is set free. He comes back to the kingdom and reveals that Malvika is his sister who has been in hididng all this while. This makes the chief queen very happy and knowing that her husband has fallen in love, she makes Malavika as one of his queens. Nobody has a problem with it now as everyone knows that she is of royal blood.