Gati in Theory and Practice

by Dr. Sujatha Mohan | 2015 | 88,445 words

This page relates ‘Chapterisation—Thesis structure’ of the study on the Theory and Practice of Gati (“gait”) which refers to the “movement of a character on the stage”, commonly employed (as a Sanskrit technical term) in ancient Indian Theatrics and the Dramatic arts, also known as Natya-shastra. This thesis explores the history and evolution of Gati and also investigates how the various Gatis are employed in regional performance traditions.

Chapterisation—Thesis structure

Chapter-1: Nāṭya -The Sanskrit theatrical art form

After the introductory chapter, this chapter deals with nāṭya -the Sanskrit theatrical art form and some references to drama and dance in Sanskrit literature starting from the Vedas to kāvyas are given. The Sanskrit works on nāṭya are enlisted and the contents of the texts are explained. The technical terms related to nāṭya are explained briefly. Dramatic elements as in the Nāṭyaśāstra, which are related to Sanskrit dramas, are elucidated. The observations and findings based on the study on nāṭya text prevailed during various centuries are given.

Chapter-2: Concept and performance of gati

This chapter deals with gati -Its etymological meaning and description in works on nāṭya. Varieties of gati as in the Nāṭyaśāstra pertaining to sentiments, characters, theater, conditions and situations are given and its explanation based on Abhinavabhārati are added. Enactment of gati with cāris, maṇḍalas and karaṇas are elucidated. Varieties of gatis as in texts such as Viṣṇudharmottara purāṇa, Bharatārṇava, Nṛttaratnāvali, Saṃgītamuktāvali and Abhinayadarpaṇa are also explained in this chapter.

Chapter-3: Application of gati in dṛśya kāvyas.

This chapter describes the performance of Sanskrit dramas and the relevance of gati in dramatic forms. The rūpakas and uparūpakas, which are the source for present day drama and dance traditions, are elaborated. References to nāṭya and nṛtta in them are given. The prayoga of cāris and karaṇas for depicting the gati is explained based on Abhinavabhārati. Enactment of gati in Sanskrit dramas are detailed in which gatis are performed in the pūrvaraṅga, dhruvagānas, lāsyāṅgas, nṛtta, nāṭyadharmī and lokadharmī, vṛttis and pravṛttis, kakṣyā vibhāga, nāyikā and the like. All the varieties of gati expounded by Bharata in the Nāṭyaśāstra are explained with appropriate examples from dramas. Observations and findings about enactment of gati are enlisted.

Chapter-4: Practice of Gati

This chapter deals with the practice of gati in the regional art forms. The temple sculptures, which have been the sources for the development of these art forms, are analyzed. The performance of gati in deśī classical, folk dance and drama forms such as bharatanāṭyam, kathakali, oḍissi, kathak, terukkūttu, bhāgavatamelam, kūḍiāṭṭam, chau, etc. and other contemporary theatres and martial arts are elaborated. Observations and findings on the practice of gati are enlisted.

Chapter-5: Conclusion

Observations based on the Nāṭyaśāstra such as, gati is an integral part of drama and dance; gati is a combination of āṅgika and sāttvika abhinayas; gati is bhāvarasātmaka; and so on are enlisted. Finding through this research such as, gati is an essential element in rūpaka and uparūpaka; gati can be performed with cāris, maṇḍalas and karaṇas in nāṭya, nṛtya and nṛtta are enlisted. The evolution of gati in post-Bharata period is found as the concept of gati completely takes a new form after Bharata. Further topics of research can be on piṇḍibandhas, aṅgahāras and other choreographic elements in the Nāṭyaśāstra. Finally, it is ascertained that gati is instrumental in bringing out the rasa in nāṭya and rhythmical and aesthetic beauty in nṛtta and nṛtya.

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