Music, dance and drama were showcased during the annual festival of Kottakkal Viswambhara temple.

The annual 10-day festival of Kottakkal Viswambhara temple included a cultural extravaganza that included Kathakali and Mohiniyattam performances, Carnatic concerts, and thayambaka, panchavadyam, and nagaswaram recitals.

Twelve Kathakali performances were staged during the festival. Veteran artistes such as Madavur Vasudevan Nair, Kalamandalam Gopi, Nelliyode Vasudevan Nambudiri, Sadanam Krishnankutty, Kottakkal Sambhu Embranthiri, Kottakkal Chandrasekhar Warrier and Kalamandalam Kuttan reigned over the stage with their memorable performances on five nights.

Kalamandalam Gopi enacted his masterpiece Nala in ‘Nalacharitham Onnam Divasam' with his usual grace and skill. While the first scene with Narada lived up to the standards set up by the thespian himself, the next two could not do so. Sadanam Krishnankutty's swan (Hamsam) could not soar up to the maestro's unforgettable portrayals of this character. After a long interval, Kalluvazhi Vasu, a senior artiste, enacted Damayanthi.

Margi Vijayakumar's Urvashi in the second part of ‘Kalakeyavadham' was the main attraction of the evening. Vijayakumar succeeded in balancing bhava and technique to make the character come alive on the stage. Kalamandalam Sreekumar also came up with a convincing Arjuna.

On the second evening, ‘Nalacharitham Naalaam Divasam' and ‘Duryodhanavadham' were staged. It was Kottakkal Sambhu Embranthiri, a former artiste of PSV Natyasangham, who shone during the recital although he was performing after a gap.

Memorable act

He paired with his old team mate Kottakkal Chandrasekhara Warrier; the duo's acting and movements were a lesson and an inspiration for younger artistes. Kalamandalam Soman played the lead to perfection in ‘Duryodhanavadham.' Kottakkal Vasudevan, Kottakkal Unnikrishnan and Kottakkal Haridas donned the roles of Panchali, Sreekrishna and Roudrabheema, respectively.

Madavur Vasudevan Nair and Kalamandalam Balasubramanian enacted Hanuman and Bhima in ‘Kalyanasougandhikam' on the third day. ‘Kirmeeravadham' and ‘Balivadham' were also staged on the same day. Kalamandalam Rajasekharan's Lalitha was a memorable act while his son Vaisakh competently enacted Panchali. Ramachandran Unnithan and Kottakkal Devadas narrated the tale of sibling rivalry between Bali and Sugreeva. Both of them were at their best.

Parasurama in ‘Seethaswayamvaram' and Keechaka in ‘Keechakavadham' were the plays on the fourth evening. Kottakkal Kesavan Kundalayar (Parasurama) and Kalamandalam Krishnakumar (Keechaka) did justice to their roles, which they portrayed with energy and emotion. Kottakkal Sudheer and Rajmohan appeared as Sreerama and Sariandhari. Scenes from ‘Subhadraharanam,' ‘Balivijayam' and ‘Dakshayagam' were enacted on the fifth day.

Sadanam Balakrishnan, Sadanam Ramankutty and Kalanilayam Balakrishnan were the main performers. Musicians Madambi Subramanian Nambudiri, Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan, Kalamandalam Mohanakrishnan, Sukumaran, Palanad Divakaran and Pathiyur Sankaran Kutty backed up the artistes splendidly.

Visual treat

Methil Devika's Mohiniyattam recital began the dance and music programmes. Her presentation of ‘Chilappathikaram,' penned and choreographed by Kavalam Narayana Panicker, was a treat to watch. Another unforgettable piece was her depiction of the birth of Lord Krishna, an excerpt from ‘Brahmaniyamma pattu.'

Sikkil C. Gurucharan, S. Soumya, K.S. Gopalakrishnan, Abhishek Reghuram and Sakambhari Kesavan enthralled the audience with their Carnatic concerts.

Every day, after the music and dance recital, veteran artistes would drum up excitement with thayambakas led by maestros such as Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar, Kalloor Ramankutty Marar, Manjeri Haridas, Chovvallur Mohanan, Kallekulamgara Achuthankutty and Porur Unnikrishnan. A panchavadyam was the attraction on the first day of the fete. Chakyarkoothu, Padhakam and Ottanthullal were also showcased during the festival.

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