Kalamandalam Gopi, Margi Vijayan and Kalamandalam Shanmukhan came up with a memorable performance of ‘Nalacharitham – Nalaam Divasam’.

‘Nalacharitam,’ Unnai Warrier’s epochal play, is a poetic work and its stage-craft has always been a challenge to even the most gifted of Kathakali actors. The play is divided into four parts from the performance point of view.

Day IV (Nalaam Divasam) of the play begins with Damayanthi sharing her anguish and anticipation with her sakhi (friend and companion), Kesini. Both of them see the chariot of king Rithuparna at a distance. Damayanthi hopes in vain to spot her husband in the chariot. She, therefore, requests her sakhi to find out the whereabouts of the one other than Rithuparna and Varshneya in the chariot.

In the next scene, Kesini reaches the venue where Bahuka (Nala in disguise) sits all alone. She questions him and Bahuka informs her that king Rituparna had come to the kingdom on hearing about the re-marriage of Damayanthi.

However Kesini watches with bated breath Bahuka’s magical prowess while he was cooking. In the following scene, Kesini reports Damayanthi Bahuka’s words and deeds. Damayanthi is now convinced that Bahuka is none other than her beloved Nala.

Damayanthi sets out to see Bahuka. Seeing each other, both of them burst into tears. Although Nala is a little suspicious about Damayanthi on account of the news of her remarriage, in the end, all doubts are cleared and the two are reunited.

Kalamandalam Gopi in the role of Bahuka was incomparable as always. The uneasiness of the character in his encounter with Kesini, moments of self-derision over his fate and previous karmas, torrent of anguish before his beloved and the impulsive sanchari bhavas (emotions in transition) found profound expressions in the movements and rasabhinaya of Gopi. Margi Vijayan as Damayanthi conveyed the full import of the sthai (enduring) and vyabhichari (shifting) bhavas. The crisp, yet loaded dialogues between the two impeccably built up the crescendo. Kalamandalam Shanmukhan as Kesini was at his best.

Vocalists Pathiyoor Sankarankutty and Kottakkal Madhu rendered each slokam and padam evocatively. They strictly adhered to the visual dynamics of Gopi’s presentation. The raga Karnaranjini for a charanam in a padam sounded a little insipid considering the overall mood of the context. Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan’s playing on the chenda seems to have energised Gopi’s actions and expressions with inexplicable precision and elegance. Kalamandalam Sankara Warrier was at his creative best on the maddalam.

Kaliyarangu, a newly founded Arts Club at North Paravoor, organised the recital.