The story of Nayak Bheda

Abirami Eswar

BSDC Company dancer Abirami Eswar has been taking part in the course. Here, Abi explains the myths and stories behind the piece:

Natya Sastra is a Sanskrit treatise on the performing arts written by Bharata Muni. This considered to be the dictionary of dance to many and has several chapters describing in depth about various topics. One of them is Nayek Bhed.

‘Nayaka’ meaning ‘heroes’ are classified into categories and each has a distinctive character based on their conduct:

Dhiraprashant (calm and composed) Dhiroddhat (cruel and vindictive) Dhiralalit (light-hearted and romantic)

The common prefix “Dhir” translates as a “brave” man.

The performance piece Nayak Bheda focuses on three male characters from Hindu mythology: Shri Rama, Kansa and Krishna.

Shri Rama is Dhirprashant Kansa is Dhiroddhat Krishna is Dhirlalit

The performance piece is categorised very cleverly in small stanzas portraying each male and their characteristics in the first half and a strong story underlining each Nayak in the second half.

The Kathakaar opens by praising the wondrous earth and how it has bestowed the land with great heroes like Shri Rama and Krishna and also wicked villains such as Kansa.

Santosh Anjani Ambadas Ahire, Rohit Parihar and Akshay Shahane as the three main hero characters

Shri Rama

Shri Rama is an example of an ideal man with the right conduct. A brave, loyal, calm and composed character. He carries the bow and arrow. Rama, the Lord of compassion will eradicate even the most terrible dread of life; his eyes are like newly-bloomed lotuses set in his lotus-face; lotus-like are his hands and feet.


Of all the evil kings on earth, the worst of them was King Kansa who was feared by everyone. A wicked minded and gruesome character, his greed for power and vengeful attitude was unstoppable.


Krishna is a delightful and most loved character in Hindu mythology. His love for animals and butter is known to everyone. Krishna plays the flute that has the power to enchant anyone. It is not a secret that Krishna loves women, Radha in particular, and women love him too.

The final scene closes with the Kathakaar reminding the audiences about each of the Nayaka.