The Drama theatre in India is as old as the Indian culture which boasts its glorious association with illustrious Indian dramatists since its antiquity. The term Indian classical drama refers to the tradition of dramatic literature and performance in ancient India. During ancient India, there were great dramatists and their creation is a magnum opus. Sariputra Prakaran of Ashwaghosh is considered as the most ancient classical/Sanskrit play.
Famous Dramatists of Theatre in Indian Classical Period
There were seven great play writers of ancient India.
The Svapnavasavadattam is the most famous composition of Bas. His other famous works are — Pratijna-Yaugandharayan, Charu Duttam, Pancharatral, `Karnabhara' `Dootvakya', and Bat Charit, Abibharaki. Prupuk was written in Prakrit language staged by common people during social ceremonies Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas.
His famous work was Mrichakatikam which means, earthen vehicle. His play reflects struggle in life which differentiates him from his predecessors. In his play there is a hero, heroine and a villain. The play is based on love story of Brahmin Charudatta and a prostitute Basantsena.
He was one of the most famous play writers of Gupta period. His two famous compositions are — `Mudrarakshasa' and Devichandra Guptam. In `Mudrarakshasa' he describes about the great emperor of Nanda dynasty Dhanananda and founder of Mauryan Empire i.e., Chandragupta Maurya. In `Devichandragupta' he mentioned about Gupta emperor Chandragupta and his brother Ram Gupta. In Mudrarakshasa love, joy, heroine, comedy is absent.
He was a famous play writer in the court of Chandragupta II. His most famous plays are `Malvikagnimitram, Vikramorvsaiyam' and `Abhigyan Shakuntalam.
He was a famous play writer of later phase of classical era. After Bhavabhuti there were no great Sanskrit play writer of Madhav and Malt is depicted in India. Uttararamacharita is another famous play of Bhavabhuti. His other composition is `Malti Madhav' where love story tantric rites played important role but comedian was absent.
He was ruler of Kannauj. He composed three famous plays— Nagananda, Ratnavali', and 'Priyadarshika'. Naganand describes about prohibition of snake sacrifice. Ratnavali mentions about love affair between prince Udayan and his lover Ratnavali while 'Priyadarshika' describes about love affairs between Udayan and Priyadarshika.
7. Mahendra Varman
He was a great Pallava king. His famous play is `Mattavillas Parahasana'. It is a satire that creates fun at the peculiar aspects of Kapalika and Pashupata cult.
The history of Indian theatre is deeply buried in the long gone era of the Sanskrit plays. The eminent Indian dramatists since then have added a distinct shape to Indian Natya whilst exemplifying the nine Rasas of drama.