Using a coherent radiation-semiconductor interaction model based upon the time dependent perturbation technique, the occurrence of optical nutation has been analytically investigated in direct-gap semiconductors such as GaAs, GaSb, InAs, and Hg1-xCdxTe, duly irradiated by near resonant laser beams. The present approach is much more simplified and straightforward than the conventional Maxwell-Bloch approach used so far for the study of coherent optical transient effects in molecular and atomic systems. The dispersion and absorption expressed in terms of the real and imaginary parts of the crystal optical susceptibility and exhibit temporally damped ringing behavior of Neumann and Bessel types, respectively. These processes have been identified as dispersive and absorptive optical nutation. The theory is developed for arbitrary laser intensity in presence of damping due to nonoptical processes. To understand the mechanisms of dispersive and absorptive optical nutation, we have restricted only to low-power resonant band-to-band transitions neglecting excitonic and damping effects. While studying analytically the transient behavior of and for a given pump field strength, it is noticed that the absorptive component exhibit remarkable qualitative agreement with the experimental observations of optical nutation in13CH3F.