Veteran Kathakali artiste Madavoor Vasudevan Nair excelled as Hanuman in ‘Kalyanasaugandhikam.'

‘Kalyanasaugandhikam' attakatha authored by Kottayam Thampuran is one of the popular plays in Kathakali repertoire. With visually appealing scenes and dramatic sequences, this play adapted from the Mahabharatha, offers much scope for actors to display their talent. The play was staged recently at Ernakulathappan Hall in Kochi, though only the latter half of it was performed. The highlight of the play was a masterly performance by Madavoor Vasudevan Nair in the role of Hanuman. With his prolific display of skill and creativity, the veteran artiste enthralled the audience.

Good rapport

The play took off with a romantic scene between Bheema (Kalamandalam Sreekumar) and Panchali (Kalamandalam Pramod). The pair displayed good rapport and the romantic ambience was further enhanced by the melodious rendering of padams by Kalamandalam Balachandran and Kalamandalam Babu Namboodiri. That the padam ‘Panchalaraja thanaye…' was not rendered was a bit of a disappointment to spectators. Kalamandalam Sreekumar was at his best, though he was a bit brisk, while enacting the ‘vanavarnana' sequence describing various animals that Bheema encounters in the forest. Madavoor Vasudevan Nair, a follower of the Kapilangattu school of the Thekkan style, breathed life into the character of Hanuman with superb gestures, body language and facial expression, right from the Thiranottam onwards. He was at his best during the ‘Elakiyattom.' The interaction between Hanuman and Bheema was one of the most interesting sequences of the play. Both the actors delighted the audience while portraying this sequence, especially Madavoor who skillfully portrayed the gradual transformation of the youthful Hanuman into a frail and aged one. Percussionists Kurur Vasudevan Namboodiri (chenda) and Kalamandalam Prasanth (maddalam) well supported the actors. The play was staged under the aegis of Ernakulam Kathakali Club.