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Melattur Bhagavata Mela

  • Published
    19th May, 2022
Context

The 82nd year Bhagavata Mela Nataka Mahotsav, organised by Melattur Bhagavata Mela Natya Nataka Sangam, will take place at Sri Varadaraja Perumal Sannidhi, Melattur, near Thanjavur.

About

About Bhagavata Mela Nataka Mahotsav:

  • The little village of Melattur, 18 kms from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, rises a spurt of feverish activity every mid-summer during the Bhagavata Mela Nataka Utsav.
  • It is organised in the sannidhi of Lord Sri Varadaraja, the presiding deity of the village, on the occasion of Sri Nrusimha Jayanti.
  • The Bhagavata Mela tradition, is believed to be in existence from the 11th Century.
  • The unique features of Melattur Bhagavata Mela natakams are:
    • It is a pious art.
    • This day, it is the only surviving link in Tamil Nadu that connects us with our ancient Sanskrit theatre.
    • It came into being as result of Bhakti movement about 450 years ago.
      • The tradition is still preserved in its pristine purity as a true temple art, in the worship Lord Vishnu.
    • The natakams, dedicated to Lord Sri Vishnu, are performed annually with religious fervour in the sannidhi of Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple at Melattur on the occasion of Nrusimha Jayanti, as has been the practice for centuries.
    • This art is a unique blend of Bhakti, music, dance and drama.
    • The utsav is a balance between true/pure devotion and aesthetic display of traditional art.
    • Only male artists portray the female roles.
  • Kuchipudi tradition originated as a type of Bhagavata Mela Natakam, a dramatic sadhana dedicated to the worship of Vishnu.
  • The structure of the dance-drama follows the Sanskritic and the Shastric conventions.
    • There are songs, dances, dialogues and speeches in the gradual unfolding of the play.
    • The gestures and postures (angika), words (vachika) and the representation of temperament (sattvika), costumes and decorations and make-up (aharya)- all these elements give Natya its characteristic form.
  • The technique of Bhagavata Mela Nataka incorporates all the three aspects of the histrionic art as expounded in the Natyashastra treatises.
    • Nritta (pure dance), Nritya (expressional dance) and Natya (drama) find sufficient scope in the enactment of the dance-dramas.
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