Panini, the grammarian, who lived almost 2500 years before Christ mentions the name of two other dramatists, Shilali and Krishaswa, a proof of the antiquity of the dance drama of India.

An idea of the intricate pattern of Kathakali can be obtained from the fact that there are 4 varieties of actions of the head, 8 of looks, 36 kinds of glances of the eyes, 6 movements of the mouth, 9 neck movements, 6 ways each of moving the chin, the lips, the cheeks and the nose. The eyelids may be moved in 9 different ways, while the eyeballs also have their 9 individual movements.
(‘Indian dancing’ by Ram Gopal & Serozh Dadachanji)

Bharata has often been dramatised by authors and playwrights. Kalidasa, one of the nava ratnas or Nine Jewels of the court of Vikramaditya of the Golden Gupta period refers to him as the Celestial Playwright in his drama Vikramorvasi.

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