Although authoritative expositions of Indian music, painting, sculpture etc are available in English, no adequate treatise has so far appeared dealing with the art of Indian dancing. Mr Iyer`s book on Kathakali has to a great extent supplied this long-felt want, dealing as it does with one important and perhaps the most unique school of Indian dancing. Apart from the fact that the book is a veritable mine of information on the subject, hitherto unavailable, it is a graphic evocation of an art-form which is yet a living tradition of the people of Malabar on the western coast of India. The author has set this colourful pageant of dance and drama against its historical and psychological background and by gradual stages the reader is taken to the very threshold of the stage where are enacted the heroic struggles and other mighty endeavours of the epical gods and titans of ancient India. The whole drama is unfolded before the mind`s eye in all its ceremonious beauty, grandeur and sublimity. A section of the book deals with the technique of this highly stylised art which is lucidly explained and much useful material is to be found in the several foot-notes which will be of particular interest to students of comparitive dance and drama. This treatise will be of permanent value as presenting a creative appraisal of a magnificient form of living Indian art tradition.
K Bharatha Iyer is a well known student of Indian art and traditon has brought to bear on this subject his extensive researches and intimate knowledge of the Kerala state.