A Kathakali Play that Enthralled the Audience

The Kathakali Club at Thrissur, Kerala is a non-profitable organization with an aim to promote the traditional classical dance drama of Kerala, Kathakali. The club used to organize monthly programs on Kathakali at Thrissur sponsored by the well wishers of the dance drama. On 13 July 2014, the club conducted its 49th annual general body meeting at agrasaala of Parammekavu temple at Thrissur. Followed by the meeting a Kathakali performance sponsored by Dr M V Jayan, a club member was held here.

Story, Actors and Crew
Kathakali conducted on 13th July, narrated the story Kiratham – from the epic Mahabharatham. Peesapilly Rajeev and RLV Pramod played the roles of Kaattalan and Kaattala sthree (female character). The other actors involved were Kalamandalam Harinarayanan as Arjunan, Kalamandalam Praveen as Lord Sivan, Kalamandalam Athul as Godess Parvathy and Kalamandalam Athul as Panni respectively. The Kathakali music was sung by two upcoming buds Kum. Aruni Jayan and Kum. Midhila Jayan, the disciples of Nedumbally Ram Mohan, the talented Kathakali musician.  The percussions were handled by Kalamandalam Ravisankar on Chenda and RLV Jithin on Madhalam. The make-up for the whole team was done by Kalamandalam Ravikumar.

The Story - Kiratham

The story of Kiratham, from the epic Mahabharatha and was rewritten by Erattakulangara Rama Variyar so as to suite Kathakali theatre performance.  The story narrates the fight between  Arjunan, one of the Pandava brothers in Mahabharatha and Lord Shiva, one of the principal Gods of the Universe. Arjunan, as per the advice of his brother going to do a thapass (an asceticism) for Lord Shiva, inorder to attain special powers in using bow and arrows.   The Kathakali story narrates mainly in four scenes.

The play began with the padam ‘Paramesa pahi pahimam puranaasa daivamee..’. Arjunan started his journey to mount Kailas and there he finds a suitable place for thapass. He takes a bath and purified himself and started chanting prayers of Lord Shiva in his deep thapass. Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvathy appeared themselves as Kaattalan (forest tribe) and Kaattalasthree (wife of hunter). Kaattalasthree , Godess Parvathy, recommends Lord Shiva who is in the attire of Kaattalan to bless Arjunan and to give him the boon that he desired. But Lord Shiva wanted to test Arjunan before satisfying his wish. For this, they (both Kaattalan and Kaattalasthree) went to the place where Arjunan was on his deep thapas. At the same time, Duryodhanan, the eldest of the 101 brothers  of Kaurava, send Mookasuran (an evil character) in the form of a panni (pig)  to disturb the thapass of Arjunan and to obstruct him from getting the blessings from Lord Shiva.  The disturbed Arjunan send an arrow to the bore. Simultaneously the Kaattalan also send an arrow to the same boar and killed it. Naturally both of them claimed on the dead wild boar. The dispute led to a fight between them. Defeated Arjunan lost his false pride/ego and became very desperate that he was not able to win even a kaattalan. So he worshipped Lord Shiva with flowers and surprisingly he noticed that flowers he threw on a Shivalinga (symbolic form of Shiva for worship) falls on kaattalan. Then he realized that the kaattalan was Lord Shiva and became very guilty of what he did.  Arjunan requested to Kattalan and
his wife to forgive his actions against them. Satisfied by this, Kaattalan and Kaattalasthree appeared before him as Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy . They blessed Arjunan with the divine Pasupathasthram (divine arrow) and give him the boon to win the fight.

The whole play enthralled the audience with the talented acting of the characters. The characters made themselves to engage the audience in their play. The narration of each scenes of the story made common people easier to understand the mudras and performance. The young talents in Kathakali music, Ms.Aruni Jayan and Ms.Midhila Jayan rendered the padams clearly and attractively.

The club has scheduled the date for their next performance as 31 August 2014 with the story Narakasuravadham. Artists Kottakkal Devadas, Kalamandalam Shanmukhan, Kalamandalam Vipin, Kottakkal Narayanan, Kalamandalam Hareesh, Kalanilayam Manoj etc. are going to take part in the next play.

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A Kathakali Play that Enthralled the Audience A Kathakali Play that Enthralled the Audience Reviewed by Welcome Kerala on 00:11:00 Rating: 5

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