Friday Review » Theatre

Updated: February 4, 2011 16:48 IST

Emotional reunion

Vinu Vasudevan
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Kalamandalam Gopi in 'Nalacharitham.'
THE HINDU Kalamandalam Gopi in 'Nalacharitham.'

Kalamandalam Gopi reiterated his supremacy in pacha veshams as Bahuka in ‘Nalacharitham-Day Four.'

Unnayi Warrier's ‘Nalacharitham' attakatha, known for its lyrical beauty and dramatic choreography, has a kaleidoscopic emotional canvas.

Kathakali stalwarts such as Vazhenkada Kunju Nair, Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and Kottakkal Sivaraman were adept at portraying the spectrum of emotions and also adhere to the right technique. While Kunju Nair gave importance to the mental make-up of the characters in the play, Krishnan Nair handled it with his emotion-filled acting and mastery over expressions. Kottakkal Sivaraman's way was reminiscent of his guru, Kunju Nair.

Although maestro Kalamandalam Gopi follows Krishnan Nair's style in terms of acting, he has created a style of his own to portray the characters in the play, his quick mudra delivery being an example. Recently, Gopi performed Nala in disguise as Bahuka in a staging of ‘Nalacharitham Day Four' at the annual temple festival of Thrikkur Mahadeva Temple, near Thrissur.

‘Nalacharitham Day Four' narrates the reunion of King Nala with his wife, Damayanthi. The three-hour play began with Damayanthi's padam ‘Theernnu sandeham ellam.....' wherein she shares with her maid Kesini her hopes of King Nala coming for her swayamvara.

In the second scene, Kesini tries in vain to find out if Bahuka, the charioteer, is Nala. Although he replies in the negative, Damayanti is convinced that Bahuka is Nala indeed. The last scene features the reunion of the hero and heroine.


Kalamandalam Gopi excelled as Bahuka, one of his masterpieces. The septuagenarian reiterated his supremacy in pacha veshams with this act. He marvellously enacted the manodharma attam that portrays Nala's turmoil.

His fast but perfect mudras and equally handsome body movements enriched the performance.

Kalamadalam Shanmughan enacted Damayanthi. Kalamandalam Sucheendranath's Kesini was well composed and he displayed his skill in abhinaya and nrita in the scene with Bahuka.

Kottakkal Narayanan led the music accompanied by Nedumpally Rammohan. Chenda artiste Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan's perfect synchronisation with thespian Gopi's mudras and movements was remarkable. Kalamandalam Rajnarayanan on the maddalam and Kottakkal Vijayaraghavan on the edakka also contributed to the success of the performance.

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