(Last Updated on : 22/07/2009)
Vaghaji Asharam Oza innovated with dialect and presented a model for plot, construction, and characters. His principal aim was to raise the morals of spectators. Belonging to a Brahman family of Morbi in Rajkot district, he heard religious stories in his childhood that inspired and motivated him to live a simple and quiet life. He held high positions as a co-founder of Arya Subodh Natak Mandali in 1878 and Morbi Arya Subodh Natak Mandali in 1882, along with his actor brother, Moolji Asharam.
As a mythological and historical dramatist, Oza gave a definite shape to Gujarati theatre
. He followed the traditional akhyan i.e. narrative style and the classical methods of using a sutradhara and nati i.e. female performer. He gave his Sita swayamvar ot 'Sita's Choice of Groom' in 1880 was in a proper dramatic form. His most successful play, the musical Bharathari in 1880 copied by many dramatists, contains the still-popular songs Bhekhre utaro Raja Bharathari i.e. 'Give up renunciation, Raja Bharathari' and Bhiksha dede maiya Pingala i.e. 'Give me alms, Mother Pingala'. The erotic and pathetic rasas, and the comic part isolated from the main plot, are its remarkable characteristics. Oza introduced the Gujarati Garba dance in Trivikram in 1893 and Chandmhas in 1894. Vaghaji Asharam Oza died in 1897.
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