Shantala, Savittri Jagannatha Rao, The Dhananjayans, Smt Kalanidhi Narayanan
Music composition:
.K. Padmanabhan, Reji George
Song interpretation:
Reji George, C.R.Radha,
Nattuvangam Savittri, Jagannatha Rao,
Mridangam Adyar V. Balu,
V.B. Madhu Sudanan
Pandurane Parat
B.V. Bala Sai
T.K. Padmanabhan
R.Lakshmi Narayanan
Live drums:
Mihalis Klapakis
Acting coach:
Smaro Stefanidou
Vassilis Nikolaidis
Costume design:
Leda Shantala
Costume accessories:
Dominique Delcausse
The silk costumes and the jewellery are all handmade in India. The masks are authentic, from Bali, Indonesia, from Shri Lanka and Central Africa, from Leda Shantala's collection.


Leda Shantala
Menaka (nymph, Shakuntala's mother)
Theo Leza-Vratoli
Priyamvada (Shakuntala's friend):
Theo Leza-Vratoli
Anasuya (Shakuntala's friend):
Emilia Bouriti
King Dushienta/sage Durvasa/Ape/Tree spirit:
Mihalis Bourikis
Bee/Lion cub
Natassa Hassioti
Maids living in the forest near the hermitage:
Theo Leza-Vratoli, Emilia Bouriti, Natassa Hassioti
Little Bharat, Shakuntala's son:
Marianna Leza
Soothsayer's voice:
Smaro Stefanidou
Kalidasa's voice (narrator):
Alexandros Veronis


Kalidasa was born in the city of Ujjain, in India. We have no historical certainty regarding his birth date but he is often placed in the period between the 1st century BCE and 4th century CE. Some say that he lived at the court of King Vikramaditya, and that he enjoyed great esteem.
He wrote eight plays: Malavikanimitram, Vikramorvasiyiam, Sringaratilakam, Ritusamharam & Megadutam, Kumarasabhavam, Ranguvamsam, Abhijnana Sakuntalam.
Kalidasa was a well-travelled man of wide culture and deep love of nature. His creative imagination preferred the tender feelings, and nothing rough nor violent perturbed the harmony of his poetic expression. Love is always gentle and civilized, it never degenerates on wild jealousy or hatred, and sadness is always depicted with tones of deep melancholy.


The nymph Menaka descends to earth to leave her newborn child (a result of her union with sage Vishwamitr) in the forest, where it is found by the wise hermit Kanva, who raises her as his own child.
Shakuntala is now a young girl, who loves nature and understands the language of animals and birds.
One day, king Dushienta comes into the forest, the two meet and fall in love. The king takes her as his wife, offering her a ring, with which she is supposed to go and meet him at the palace.
After his departure, Shakuntala is lost in thoughts about her beloved and fails to take proper care of the visiting sage Durvasha, who throws a curse at her.
When Shakuntala leaves the forest in order to go to Dushienta's capital, she loses her ring which falls into a river. Once in the palace, the king does not recognize her and Shakuntala returns to the forest, where she lives in sadness, raising her son, Bharata. One day, a fisherman brings a fish to the palace, and in the fish the ring is found. As soon as the king looks at the ring, the curse is cleared, he remembers his wife. He rushes to the forest, where he first meets his young son playing with lion cubs, and then Shakuntala. The three return to the palace together, happily.
The play's Sanscrit name is "Abhijñana shakuntala". Abhijnana means "recognition", and it refers to the ring, whose disappearance brings the misfortune to the couple. The story of Shakuntala was not Kalidasa's invention. It was briefly mentioned in the Mahabharata. Kalidasa, however, was the one who invested new life to the story, softening its crudeness with the addition of the curse and the ring, and with his dramatic imagination made it into a poetic masterpiece. The play was the first Indian drama to be translated into a Western language, by Sir William Jones in 1789. In the next 100 years, there were at least 46 translations in twelve European languages.
Goethe wrote:
Wouldst thou the young year's blossoms and the fruits of its decline
And all by which the soul is charmed, enraptured, feasted, fed,
Wouldst thou the earth and heaven itself in one sole name combine?
I name thee, O Sakuntala! and all at once is said..

According to Rabindranath Tagore Shakuntala expresses the history of evolution of flower into fruit, earth into heaven, matter into spirit. The sublimation of love from the level of transient physical beauty to the sphere of the eternal beauty of internal values.
Bharat, son of Shakuntala an king Dushienta, is a mythological character, the ancestor of the characters in the Mahabharata, and his name is often taken to mean "man/human". He is the author of "Natya Shastra", a text on art. Bharata gave his name on the epic poem "Mahabharata" and to the art of Indian classical dance "Bharata Natyam".


Shakuntala speaks to her friend about her love for king Dushient





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Page last updated on January 1st, 2009