We have spoken about the leading lady in the Indian Classical dances at length. Today I want to discuss the types of Hero or Nayak as explained in the classical texts. According to the Natyashastra, there are three categories of Nayakas:
- Uttama Nayaka – Pati (Uttama or Pathi)
He is the one who is faithful to his Nayika, or his married wife
- Madhyam Nayaka – Upapathi (Madhyam or Upapathi)
He is the one who has a wavering mind, and is capable of attracting other women to him
- Adhama Nayaka – Vaishikan (Adhama or Vaishikan)
He is the one who is unfaithful to his Nayika, and takes pride in throwing his money and buying a woman for his pleasure.
Like the Ashtanayika, the Nayakas too are classified according to their moods. They are:
- Anukoolan: One who never thinks of any woman other than his married wife, such as Lord Rama.
- Dakshinan: One who enjoys the company of all the women around him with equal affection. He is the Upapathi or Madhyama Nayaka.
- Dristan: One who commits a mistake, and inspite of being scorned by the Nayika, tries to pacify her and stays by her side.
- Sadan: One who deceives and cheats his Nayika.
Like the Nayika, the Nayaka also has close friends. They are:
- Peedamardhanan: One who has affection and respect for his friend’s Nayika. He also cools down the Nayika’s temper, when she is angry with the Nayak.
- Vidan: One who is very well versed in the Kama Sastra.
- Sedan: One who is capable of bringing together the estranged Nayika and Nayak.
- Vidooshakam: One who is capable of making everybody laugh, a jester.