Dr. Anupama Kylash on her Doctoral thesis
Annamacharya dates back to the early 15th century. He is the forerunner to the ‘Pada’ format of literature in Telugu and as many as 12,000 songs of his are available today.
For some obscure reason, even though Annamacharya is the first pada writer in Telugu, his songs have not acquired the same popularity for usage in dance abhinaya as the padas of his successors like Kshetrayya and Sarangapani.
For the first time, this thesis tries to bring out an in-depth study of the scope that this numerous collection of Annamacharyas songs have for adaptability to dance, both for pure dance (nrtta) as well as expressive dance (abhinaya). This work illustrates over 50 varieties of songs which contain intricate classifiable nayika categories as well as in between and unusual shades to nayikas and their emotional states. The classification is based on the nayika scheme given treatises of dramaturgy and poetics like Bharata’s Natya Shastra, Bhanudatta’s Rasa Manjari and Akbar Shah’s Shringara Manjari. The thesis not only discusses in depth, how the poet has presented his nayika, but also the different ways in which each song can be set to dance. The work also provides classifications of the nayika from ten different treatises on poetics.
Annamacharya has also composed the ‘Sankeertana Lakshanam’, a treatise on the methods of composing Sankeertanas. The details of meter, format, style, linguistic nuances and theme mentioned in his Sankeertana Lakshanam goes a long way in establishing him as not only an extraordinary Veggeyakara but a theoretician and scholar of great merit.
This is the assumption based on which this thesis attempts to establish how much of the ‘shastra’ there is in the songs of annamayya and that these songs even go beyond simple classifications especially in reference to his handling of the nayika bhavas. The Philosophical connotation veiled in the Shringara lyrics make his songs all the more compelling and challenging to a practitioner or choreographer of Indian classical dance.
Also lectured on Annamayya’s work to Post graduate students of Central University.
Some unique presentations on Annamayya’s Sahitya
Annamayya is the only Vaggeyakara who has composed prolifically on all the major Godheads of Vaishnavism. Vishnu himself, and his manifestation as Rama in the Tretayuga, Krishna in the Dwaparayuga and Venkateshwara in the Kalyuga. Based on this theme I have choreographed the feature Vishwam Narayanam and have staged it in ‘solo’ as well as ‘ballet’ format in many places including the Tirupati Brahmotsavams 2006.
For the first time extracts from Annamacharyas work ‘Shringara Manjari’ [which is a piece of poetry in the Manjari Duripada format] has been set to dance by her and staged several times.
A production comprising 13 aspects of the work of Annamacharya including the whole gamut of his Shringara and Adhyatma (spiritual) Sankeertanas has been staged on the occasion of Annamacharya Jayanthi in May 2004.
Several concepts are now coming up on the folk elements in his songs, his imageries and a comparative work of the Tamil poets ‘Alwars’ and ‘Annamacharya’.
She has started an institute for Dance, Music and literature in Hyderabad along with her musician friend Anasuya Murthy, called ‘Anubhava’. Anubhav trains students in Dance, Music and conducts performances, seminars and workshops.
Anubhav – Centre for Music, Dance & Literature
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