Hamsavum pinne Nalanum :-)
The story is a side story of the epic MAHABHARATHAM. Nala is a
king belonging to the chandravamsha. He falls in love with damayanti,
the daughter of King Bhima of Vidarbha and marries her with the
help of the swan hamsam. Jealous evil-doer
Kali casts a spell on him, instigates his brother Pushkara to challenge
him to a game of dice. Nala loses everything in the game and is
sent off to the forest with Damayanti. Unable to protect Damayanti
-- who refuses Nala's requests to go to the safety of her father
-- he leaves her while she is asleep. Damayanti overcomes a python
with the help of a Kattalan -- a forest man -- and later his lust,
joins a caravan of traders and reaches Vidarbha. Bitten by the magical
serpent Karkkotaka, Nala enters a disguised form, takes up the name
Bahuka and joins the King Rtuparna of Kosala as a super charioteer
and cook. Damayanti sends Sudeva to Kosala to see if Nala was hiding
there. Sudeva lies about a second wedding of Damayanti in Rtuparna's
court that takes place the next day. Hopeful of marrying Damayanti
Rtuparna speeds off to Vidarbha, but Nala is the only one who can
command the horses to reach there on time. Amazed at Bahuka's ability,
Rtuparna learns the mantra to control the horses from him and gives
him a mantra to control dice in return. Kali is unable to maintain
his spell on Nala and is driven out at this point. The wedding story
turn out to be unfounded when they reach Vidarbha. Damayanti, however,
sends her friend Keshini to spy on Bahuka. She reports Bahuka has
all the capabilities only Nala is supposed to have. Damayanti finally
approaches Bahuka who accepts her, but not before doubting her innocence.
They return to their country, overthrow Pushkara and live happily.
The attakkatha (libretto/drama) was composed by Unnayi Warrier,
whose time is believed to be from 1675 to 1716. It is written to
be enacted over four full nights and is divided into first, second,
third, and fourth days.
Damayanti and Keshini observe as Rtuparna's
chariot arrives as only Nala can command it fast enough to get there
on that day. Damayanti is disappointed the charioteer was an ugly
man unlike Nala and sends Keshini to find out about that man.
Keshini approaches Bahuka and asks him about him and his master.
She also asks him directly if he knew anything about Nala. She receives
evasive answers, but spies on him conducting chores. Pots fill magically
with water and fire burns without fuel, and dying flowers get revived:
all powers Nala possesses.
Keshini reports to Damayanti that it was indeed Nala and provides
the above as proof. Damayanti wonders to herself if it was proper
for her to go out to meet this man. She convinces herself that it
was proper and sets out to meet him.
Damayanti approaches Bahuka and asks him if he was
Nala. Overcome by joy on seeing Damayanti, Bahuka
tells all. He wears the magic cloth and sheds the ugly form of Bahuka.
He also overcomes his initial thrill and questions Damayanti harshly
on her attempts at a remarriage. She says it was just a plot to
get Nala to Vidarbha but he is not convinced. Gods intervene with
a message from the heavens attesting Damayanti's
innocence and the two are united in joy .
Other Paintings related to this Hamsam