Kalamandalam Balasubramaniam portrayed the gamut of feelings faced by Karna before the great war. Written by the multifaceted personality Mali (V. Madhavan Nair), ‘Karnashapatam’ is packed with dramatic sequences and embellished with simple lyrics and melodious music.

Kathakali performance is most enjoyable when actors deliver their best with the support of music and percussion. ‘Karnasapatham,’ organised under the aegis of Ernakulam Kathakali Club, was one such memorable occasion for Kathakali fans. Excellent acting, soulful singing and sensible drumming made the play an outstanding one.

Written by the multifaceted personality Mali (V. Madhavan Nair), ‘Karnasapatham’ is packed with dramatic sequences and embellished with simple lyrics and melodious music. The play throws lights on Karna, the loyal warrior and idealistic friend who sticks to his benefactor Duryodhanan through thick and thin. Even when Kunti reveals that she is his mother, Karna refuses to let his emotions suppress his duty to his king and friend.

The play staged in Kochi began with Duryodhanan mollifying his wife, Bhanumati, and assuring her that she had nothing to fear as the Kauravas were mightier than the Pandavas and that they had warriors like Karna with them. Kalamandalam Balasubramaniam excelled as Karna. He depicted the turmoil of the character through his eloquent facial expressions and apt mudras. His rapport with the singers and percussionists was noteworthy.

Pathos and agony

Kunti’s pathos and agony were portrayed by Margi Vijayakumar. Kalamandalam Shanmughadas (Bhanumati), Kottakal Kesavan (Duryodhanan) and Kavungal Diwakara Panicker (Dussasanan) were the other actors.

Vocal recital by Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan and Kottakal Madhu was superb. Among the padams, ‘Valsalya varidhe Karna….’ and ‘Sandheham Valarunnu….’ were exceptionally melodious.

Percussionists Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan (chenda) and Nelluvay Narayanan Nair (maddalam) supported the artistes. Unnikrishnan’s drumming captured the various emotions of the characters.