Years of birth and death unknown. Ancient Indian dramatist of the first half of the eighth century.
Bhattanarayana wrote in Sanskrit. A native of Kanauj, he settled in Bengal. Of his three works, the play The Plaiting of the Braid has survived. It is based on the second and eighth books of the Mahabharata and depicts episodes from the great battle in Kurukshetra. The strong expressiveness of individual scenes and images does not compensate for the general dramatic weakness of the play, which is marked by unwieldy composition and deliberately pedestrian language and style. Bhattanarayana’s play signaled the beginning of the decline of classical Indian theater.