Ettumanoor Kannan and Kalamandalam Vijayakumar excelled in a staging of ‘Keechakavadham'

It is said that Irayimman Thampi (1782-1856) wrote ‘Keechakavadham’ attakatha when he was just 19 years old. Ettumanoor Kannan and Kalamandalam Vijayakumar in the lead roles enthralled the audience with their passionate acting during a staging of ‘Keechakavadham’ in Kochi.

‘Keechakavadham’ narrates an unfortunate episode in Panchali’s life during the Pandavas’ days of exile, when Panchali had to work as Sairandri, a maid of Queen Sudheshna’s. Keechaka, the queen’s brother, makes passes at Sairandri. She rebuffs him. Keechaka then appeals to his sister for help. Meanwhile, Sairandri pleads with Valalan (Bheema in disguise) to help her. Later, at night, Valalan, who is hiding under a blanket in Sairandri’s room, kills Keechaka. Although the original attakatha contains 15 scenes, only seven scenes are usually enacted.

Ettumanoor Kannan breathed life into the negative character of Keechaka. Right from the Thiranottam sequence, Kannan powerfully portrayed Keechaka’s obsession for Sairandri and brought out all nuances of the character with apt expressions and manodharma attams.

Kalamandalam Vijayakumar (a.k.a. Champakara Vijayan) excelled in the role of Sairandri.

Kalamandalam Arunkumar in the role of Valalan and R.L.V. Pramod in the role of Sudheshna also impressed.

Music was by Palanaad Divakaran and Kalamandalam Rajesh Babu. Although Divakaran did not rise to his usual form, rendition of padams such as ‘Malini….’ (Paadi), ‘Sadharam Nee….’ (Begada) and ‘Harinakshi….’ (Kamboji) were good. Percussionists Kalamandalam Ravisankar on the chenda and Kalamandalam Ragesh on the maddalam supported the actors.

The performance was organised under the joint aegis of BEAME (Bank Employees Arts Movement, Ernakulam), Ernakulam Kathakali Club and Ernakulam Karayogam.