(Last Updated on : 04-03-2010)
Sanjiva is a major part of aharyabhinaya in Indian theatre. Sanjiva includes the use of living animals on stage as well as the making of animate objects for the stage if their presence was needed in connection with the performance. Lions, tigers, elephants, horses and other wild animals, birds and serpents could be represented on the stage with the help of bamboos, cloth, wool, kalinja, bhenda and abaraka. The artificial elephant in the Svapnavasavadatta, horse, deer and lion in the Abhijnanasakuntalam
are all examples of the Sanjiva type of aharyabhinaya.
Many-armed animals, many-faced animals, lions, donkeys, elephants and camels are prepared with earth, wood or man covered with animal's skin. A monkey could easily be portrayed by showing a man wearing a garment appropriate to a monkey. The actor should enter with apt feeling, concealing his own form with colouring materials and ornaments. The actor should become one with the character whose role he is playing. If a man represents an animal, he should assume the feeling of that animal and act the role with appropriate gait, gestures, voice and efforts. In the play Ratnavali, there is a clear illustration of the Sanjiva type of aharyabhinaya.
Thus it is asserted that though there was no scenery on ancient Indian stage as it is in the modern times, some of the scenes were shown to the audience by preparing the necessary equipments with the help bamboos, lac, cloth skin, wool, and earth, bark of trees, bhenda and abaraka.
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