|Directed by Vinod Mankara, Priyamanasam,
is only the third movie to be made in Sanskrit. It is about the 17th
century poet-scholar, Unnayi Warrier. The 90 minute long period film
deals with the conflicts and mental agony experienced by Warrier, while
penning his Kathakali play Nalacharitham Aattakkatha.
|Sadir, known as Chinna Melam was a popular form of entertainment those
days and there was no dearth of concert opportunities. “There was no
stage worth the name, a ‘sadir jamakkalam’ (a rough carpet) was spread
on the floor to denote the dance arena. A small bench for the harmonium,
to be played standing, was the only prop. The nattuvanar and musicians
played the mridanga, harmonium, mukhaveena or clarionet and the tutthi
(a drone instrument for sruti), all standing. Sometimes there were two
nattuvanars for a concert. The number could swell to three or four on
occasion,” recalls Guru Muthuswami Pillai (1921 - 1992).
(‘A marvel of tradition and talent,’ Sujatha Vijayaraghavan, Sruti issue 319, April 2011)
|At the temple of Jagannath, Mina Nayak is the title of the officer
responsible for controlling the behaviour of the dasi and the public. In
a 17th century document still preserved at the temple, the then Mina
Nayak refers to the conduct of the son of a ‘panda’ (priest) during the
ritual performance of a devadasi at the time of the Lord’s midday meal.
It seems that while she was dancing, he dared to present her with a
flower and she instinctively wore it in her hair. Consequent to this
incident, both of them were forbidden to enter the precincts of the
temple for an entire year.
(‘Devadasi of the Jagannath Temple: precursors of Odissi music and dance’ (1985), Ileana Citaristi)