Sathwikam, a DVD of Kathakali performances by living maestros, will be released on August 18

Sathwikam was a unique Kathakali show. Ten noble protagonists, the pacha veshams, were presented on one stage in a full-night programme at Tripunithura a few months back. Top ten artistes presented short versions from ten major attakathas or plays where the pacha vesham was prominent.

Representing life

On August 18, the video album of the ten performances will be released at Seetharam Kalamandir, Tripunithura at 6 p.m.

“The attakathas, like the Puranas, actually represent life. The good and the evil, the ups and downs, joy and sorrow, all experiences find expression in Kathakali. This is what we have tried to do in the select ten scenes. The four stages of life are represented,” says FACT Padmanabhan, president, Sathwikam.

Padmashri Kalamandalam Gopi, Sadanam Krishnankutty, Kottakkal Chandrasekhara Warrier, Kalamandalam Krishnakumar, Kalamandalam Balasubramanian, Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody, Kalamandalam Sreekumar, Kottakkal Kesavan, FACT Mohan and Kalamandalam Pradeep were the ten actors who portrayed the sathwika characters.

Method to choosing

There was a method in the choice of the stories or the plays. “Though, for practical reasons, taking into account factors such as the seniority of the actors, the visual impact of the scenes etc. we shuffled the order of the scenes when we presented them ‘live’. We had a definite intention while choosing these plays,” explains Padmanabhan.

Padmanabhan, the senior artiste and guru, talks about the relevance of the ten scenes and their connect with human life. “In Bakavadham, in which Baka is killed by Bheema, the message is clear. The play exhorts a casual, lazy man on the need to become self-reliant. The self-reliant man now wishes, in Nalacharitham Day One, to settle down in life with a life-partner. Fulfilment in life is what the scene from Subhadraharnam represents. The man becomes more responsible. In Kalyanasougandikam, this man is seen as being ready to make any sacrifice for his beloved. It also teaches one that he should be prepared to meet any exigency in case of rash decisions. His complete life, with children, his kingdom, and his people is seen in Nalacharitham Day Two. Then, like it happens in anyone’s life, Fate intervenes. No one can stand in its way,” Padmanabhan continues.

The following scenes and plays are a continuation of the story of life. “Nalacharitham Day Three is about how man needs to face challenges, some of which he cannot back out from. This means even losing everything he has, leaving him to repent. In Karnasapatham, which follows, we see the forces of karma. This in the form of relationships, here between mother and son. There is the search for answers to questions like who is responsible for these relationships and their fallout? Finding answers becomes important.

“Then comes a stage when all these experiences lead to ennui as in Kirmeeravadham. There is that urge to lay down all burdens and take solace in God. The last two plays, Dakshayagam and Kalakeyavadham, present the options before man. Be either arrogant or active as Daksha or duty-bound, without aspirations, like Arjuna,” concludes Padmanabhan.

Backing these ten actors were some of the best Kathakali musicians such as Pathiyoor Sankarankutty, Kottakkal Madhu, Kalanilayam Rajeevan, Babu Namboodiri. An audio CD of the songs is also included along with a DVD on the Purappad. The album launch will be followed by Rugmangada Charitham Kathakali which will have Kalamandalam Gopi,and Margi Vijayakumar in the lead roles.

For details on the album contact: 9895730082 or 904802 7872.