Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Brajesh's Review : Malavikagnimitram (Sanskrit Translation)

Malavikagnimitram is a Sanskrit Play by Kalidasa, recently Translated into English by Srinivas Reddy. Thanks to this translations, I had a chance to read one of Kalidasa’s work.

This play is about the love affair of King Agnimitra with Malavika his Queen’s maid servant. Early in the play the king is smitten by the beauty and dance of Malavika. The play then unfolds through the King’s friend and Vidusaka Gautama, who plots one scheme after another to ensure an opportunity for King to express his love.

The play is classically constructed over 5 acts and has a relatively simple story line with a happy ending. In the simplicity of plot the character development, poetic language and situational nuances hold the audience. This translation has done a great job of ensuring that the poetic flavor of the original Sanskrit isn't lost.

The first part of the book, give us a peek into the world of Kalidasa and his literature, through sections on History, Art, Language and Translation and prepares us well to appreciate the craft.

This play is part of the early literary work of Kalidasa and is relatively of simpler construction. The introduction also prepares us to enjoy the nuances of the play through a series of insights like Sanskrit being the language of elite and Prakrit being the language of commoner.

Kalidasa is the most translated Sanskrit poet, and possibly the most translated Indian writer of all times, I look forward to finding similar good quality translations of his other epics of Abhigyaanshakuntalam & Meghdoot.

The rating is for the translation, as I am obviously inadequate to rate the great poet, without reading this in the original form.

Rating : 3.5 / 5

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