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Kādambari is a romantic novel in Sanskrit. It was substantially composed by Bāṇabhaṭṭa in the first half of the 7th century CE, who did not survive to see it through completion. The novel was completed by Banabhatta's son Bhushanabhatta, according to the plan laid out by his late father. It is conventionally divided into Purvabhaga (earlier part) written by Banabhatta, and Uttarabhaga (latter part) by Bhushanabhatta. (An alternate tradition gives the son's name as Pulindabhatta.)

The standard editions of the original Sanskrit text are by Peterson and Kane. There are translations into English by Kale, Layne and Ridding; and an abridgement into Gujarati by Bhalan (edited by Keshavlal Dhruv).

This novel has an extremely intricate plot which is difficult to summarize with concision. Its central thread is that of a romantic attachment (and eventual union) between the hero Chandrapeeda and the heroine Kadambari. However, there are several competing subplots; indeed, the heroine does not make her appearance until past the midpoint. Many of the characters appear in multiple incarnations, some as humans and some as demigods or animals. The narration proceeds in a succession of nested frames; a large part of it is a retelling by a parrot of a story which was told to it by a sage. The latter story also contains several instances of one character relating a sub-story to another character.

The plot has probably been adapted from the story of King Sumanas from Gunadhya's Brihatkatha (a conjectural collection of stories in the extinct Paishachi language). This story also appears in Somadeva's Kathasaritsagara (which is believed to be a Sanskrit precis of Gunadhya's work).

This work can be plausibly claimed to be one of the first novels in the world; making due allowance for the ambiguities of such a classification. In fact, two modern Indian languages ( Kannada and Marathi) use 'kadambari' as a generic term for a romance or a novel.

Apart from the Kadambari, Banabhatta is also the author of Harshacarita, a biography of his patron king Harshavardhana. It is this circumstance which allows one to date the author with a reasonable degree of certainty.

Kadambari (film)

Kadambari (2015) is a Bengali film directed by Suman Ghosh and produced by Rakesh Singh. The music of the film was composed by Bickram Ghosh. This is a biopic of Kadambari Devi, the sister-in-law of Rabindranath Tagore and Konkona Sen Sharma and Parambrata Chatterjee played the lead roles.

Kadambari (disambiguation)

Kadambari may refer to—

  • Kadambari, a Sanskrit novel
  • Kadambari (film), a 2015 Bengali film
  • Kadambari Devi, a 19th-century Bengali woman
  • Kadambari Murali, an Indian sports journalist
  • Dr. Kadambari Jethwani, an Indian actress, model and doctor