The literal meaning of Vritthi is "style and characteristics". Vritthi is known to be the “mother of theatre” – Vrithayo Natyamatarah - as mentioned in the Natyashastra. Human behaviour can be seen through three different perspectives - Verbal, Physical and Emotional, which vary from person to person. Thus, the Vritthis are imperative in defining people, their characters or state of being. As mentioned in Chapter II of this blog, Bharatamuni taught the Vritthis to his sons and the apsaras. The Vritthis are divided into four in accordance with the three essential channels of Abhinaya i.e Vachika (or verbal), Satvika (or emotional) and Angika (or physical), all of which have been explained in earlier posts.
Sathvikavritthi - It is derived from the Yajur Veda. This Vritthi
is endowed with the quality of Sattva [vigour] and good behaviour, cheerfulness and the absence of Shoka [sorrow]. Display of Karuna and Sringara has no scope in this Vritti but Veera, Adbhutha and Roudra are expressed effectively. Sathvikavritthi has four varieties:
Kaishikivritthi – It is taken from the Sama Veda. It is the Vritthi which portrays delicate and
graceful expressions. It requires diverse costumes, proper lighting and
music. It includes the presence of
females. As mentioned before, Kaishikivritti was performed by the Apsaras. It
mainly focuses on emotions laced with love. Veera rasa is almost absent in this vritthi.
Aarabhavritthi - This is derived from the Atharva Veda. This Vritthi has vigorous and forceful movements which are characterised by exercises and combat and which may result in negative emotions such as hatred,
deceit, jealousy, anger etc.
- Bharathivritthi – This is taken from the Rig Veda. This is the style in which prominence is given to speeches made in Sanskrit. It is employed only by male actors and used by Bharatas. There are varieties of this Vritthi:
- Prarochana: It is that part of Purvaranga where an invocation is offered for success, good fortune and the annihilation of sin.
- Amukha: Also called Prastavana, this is the part in the commencement of the act where the Natti, i.e. the female associate and the Visdhushaka or Pariparsvaka [actor friend] carry on a dialogue with the Sutradhara [Narrator] regarding an appropriate topic and using interesting wordplay. Amukha has five elements in it:
- Uddhatyaka – Forced Interpretation of words i.e. words not correctly understood by the listener.
- Kathoddhata – Entry of characters onto the stage by conversing on a topic mentioned by the Sutradhara.
- Prayogatisaya - Introduction of the act by the Sutradhara at the beginning whereby the characters enter onto the stage.
- Pravrttika - Here the Sutradhara describes the situation; for example, a season (or nature or birds) and the character enacts accordingly.
- Avalagita – An action associated with a certain context but which when fulfilled, accomplishes another outcome.
- Utthapaka – Challenging another to fight.
- Parivartaka - Avoiding the relevance of a challenge by using reason to take up something else.
- Sallapaka - Offending or insulting another irrespective of a challenge or not.
- Sanghatyaka - Breaking an alliance for reasons such as a friend’s cunning words about fate or about another's shortcomings.
Mohiniyattam follows the graceful Kaishikivritthi.