Ernakulam Kathakali Club Target: To encourage and propagate Kathakali and to promote the artists of this exclusive art form

ORIGIN: Ernakulam Kathakali Club, one of the oldest cultural organisations in Kochi, has been on the go ever since it came into being way back in the year 1959. It was inaugurated by Parikshit Thampuran, the then Maharaja of Cochin. It was the undying passion and devotion of a like-minded few for Kathakali that culminated in the formation of Ernakulam Kathakali Club. As of now, the club has around 300 members but they still find it difficult to make ends meet. Having successfully entered into sixth decade of its activities, the highpoint of this organisation is its consistency, still conducting its monthly programmes without fail. “The uninterrupted manner in which we have kept the show going could well be termed as our greatest accomplishment. During the last 52 years it was only on one occasion that the club had to suspend its regular monthly show. That was on the day of the Perumon train tragedy,” says K.Sukumaran, secretary of the club and an avid Kathakali fan.

ACTIVITIES:Apart from the regular monthly programmes the club organises special programmes. The annual celebrations are conducted in a fitting manner with maestros donning important roles in choice plays. “Till recently night-long Kathakali performances for two days were an integral part of the annual celebrations. During the eighties, which can be considered as the golden era of the club, Kathakali performances by maestros used to be held to packed houses,” remembers Ravindran A. N., cultural activist and member of the club for over four decades. The club also has been honouring talented artistes by awarding them with the ‘Kalahamsam' and ‘Tauratrika' awards.

IMPACT:Kathakali is not an art form which is easily understood and appreciated. It is here that the club becomes relevant. It has been in the forefront of propagating and preserving this art form. The week-long appreciation classes that the club used to conduct have been responsible in initiating many new Kathakali aficionados. It also helped many understand the art and enhanced their enjoyment of the Attakathas.

GETTING IN TOUCH: To know more about Kathakali and Ernakulam Kathakali Club, call 098954 38272 (secretary) or 094471 85470 (president).