Gopalakrishna Bharathi

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Gopalakrishna Bharati (Tamil: கோபாலகிருஷ்ண பாரதி) (1811–1896) was a Tamil poet and a composer of Carnatic music. He wrote a kathakalatchepam (Tamil: கதாகாலட்சேபம்), Nantanar Charittiram (Nandanar Charitram), two other works in this genre, and many independent kritis.

Bharati was a contemporary of Thyagaraja whom he is said to have met, and who asked him whether he had composed anything in the raga AbhOgi; Bharati subsequently composed one of his most popular kritis in rUpaka tALa, Sabhapatikku. The great Tamil literary figure, U. V. Swaminatha Iyer wrote two sources for Bharati's life: a biography of the composer and his own autobiography, which contains references to Bharati, who was his guru in music.

Early life[edit]

Gopalakrishna Bharathi was born at Narimanam, near Nagapattinam A few years later he moved to Anandathandavapuram village, near Mayavaram where he lived the almost the entire part of his life.His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all veena exponents and scholars in Sanskrit. After losing his parents at an early age, he worked as a cook in a temple. He then met Govinda Yati, who taught him Hindu scripture, and then the musician Ramdas, who taught him Hindustani music. Gopalakrishna started his professional career after finding a patron named Annu Iyer.[1]

Compositions[edit]

Gopalakrishna Bharathi composed several kritis on the principles of advaita. Gopalakrishna Bharathi's kritis, portraying several musical facades, were extremely well received by the public and were sung in a number of concerts during his lifetime. This prompted several musicians to approach Gopalakrishna Bharathi. The musicians would express his vision for a new kirtana and Bharathi would always oblige and compose a song to fit the musician's requirement.

Gopalakrishna Bharati used the mudra (signature) Gopalakrishna in his compositions. These include famous kritis like varukalAmO (rAga mAnji), varuvArO (sAma) and ennEramum (rAga dEvagAndhAri).

NantanAr Carittiram is a katAkALatcEpam, a genre of religious story-telling with music that was popular in Tamil Nadu in the 19th and early 20th centuries before the advent of film, especially the talkies. Nandan Caritiram was based on the story of a paraiyAr (dalit or 'untouchable'), Nandanar known also as TirunAlaippOvAr NayanAr. A great devotee of Siva, he yearned to visit Chidambaram the greatest of Siva temples. He greatly feared that caste prejudice would prevent him from entering the temple, but his devotion overcame this obstacle, and he obtained his desire, becoming physically merged with Siva in a blaze of light. Bharati's version of NantanAr Carittiram is a masterly development of the story narrated in Sekkizhar's Periya PurANam. He included many forms of Tamil regional music, and is praised for his ability to capture dialect and popular expression. The eminent Tamil literary scholar, Meenakshisundaram Pillai, however, criticised him for grammatical lapses.

Composition Raga Tala Type Language Other Info Audio Links
eppo varuvAro Jonpuri Adi Kriti Tamil [2]
guruvaruLum tiruvaruLum Abhogi Khanda Chapu Kriti Tamil [3]
sabhApatikku vEre daivam samAnamAgumA Abhogi Rupaka Kriti Tamil

[4] [5]

Innamum sandeha padalamo Keeravani misrachapu Kriti Tamil

Performance history[edit]

Nandan Caritiram, as performed by Bharati, proved very popular and he published it in his lifetime. The highly regarded Thanjavur Krishna Bhagavatar, who developed the art of katakalatcepam by introducing elements from Marathi performance practice and elements of dance, made it one of his masterpieces. Many adaptations appeared, including stage plays and three film versions. Individual songs of Gopalakrishna Bharati became popular with Carnatic musicians. Later, Bharata Natyam dancers, including T. Balasaraswati, took up select pieces for interpretation as abhinaya. The album of the film version starring the singer M. M. Dandapani Desikar as Nandanar (with music direction by Papanasam Sivan) remains popular.

The story of Nandanar, as Bharati developed it, had considerable resonance with the Nationalist movement in India. Nandanar was an untouchable (dalit), and M. K. Gandhi, among others, saw his story as expressing the plight and aspirations of India's dalits. Others argue that Nandanar, with his burning desire to see Shiva at Chidambaram, captured the mood and paralleled the aspirations of Indian nationalists yearning for independence from Britain.

Publication[edit]

Bharati's katakalatcepams were so popular in Karaikal that several government officials would sleep at work after spending the whole night listening to his performances. Karaikal was then a French colony and the official Cisse decided to conduct an inquiry into the reason behind the inefficiency of his employees. His investigations led him to conclude that the cause was in fact Bharati. Curious, he decided to pay a visit personally to one of Bharati's concerts. Cisse was so impressed by Bharati's performance that he decided to help Bharati publish his work as a book. This eventually led to the publication of Nandan Caritiram, one of Bharati's most popular works.[6]

See also[edit]

References & Audio Links[edit]

  1. ^ Mahabharati, Sangit (2010). "Gopālakriṣhṇa Bhārati". In Late Pandit Nikhil Ghosh. The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Music of India, Vol. 1. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. p. 375. ISBN 978-0-19-565098-3. 
  2. ^ "eppo varuvAro - Snehakottai Hari & Party". 
  3. ^ "guruvaruLum tiruvaruLum - Nityasree Mahadevan". 
  4. ^ "sabhApatikku vEre daivam samAnamAgumA - MS Subbulakshmi". 
  5. ^ "sabhApatikku vEre daivam samAnamAgumA - OS Thyagarajan". 
  6. ^ Kolappan, B. (23 December 2013). "Sleeping Employees,a French official:The saga of a Tamil opera". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 

External links[edit]