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Ancient Aesthetics and Current Conflicts: Indian Rasa Theory and Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider (2014)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2019

Emma Smith
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

On many levels, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a play about acting. When considering styles of theatrical performance, our eponymous Prince exhorts the players to perform their parts ‘gently’, with ‘temperance’ and ‘smoothness’, ‘hold[ing] … a mirror up to nature’ (3.2.5, 8, 22). This acting philosophy has been theorized and realized in diverse ways on stage and screen in the Eurocentric West, but it stands in stark contrast to one of the foremost ancient aesthetic theories of India – that of rasa, which refers to the emotion an audience member experiences during a performance, be it drama, dance, poetry or music.

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Shakespeare Survey 72 , pp. 171 - 182
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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