Fete: The annual Koodiyattam festival at Ammannur Gurukulam once again had a judicious distribution of Koodiyattam and Nangiarkoothu performances. A. Sangameswaran

Come January, the evenings at the Maadhavanaatya bhoomi of Ammannur Gurukulam, Irinjalakuda, reverberates with the sound of the mizhavu – the occasion being the annual Koodiyattam festival.

As always, this year too there was a judicious distribution of Koodiyattam and Nangiarkoothu performances during the 12-day festival. The festival showcased the talents of well-known artistes as well as students of the Gurukulam.

The Nangiarkoothu section consisted of ‘Poothanamoksham’ (Kalamandalam Divya), ‘Kamsavadham’ (Saritha Krishnakumar), ‘Govardhanodharanam’ (Kapila) and ‘Soorpanakhangam’ (Aparna Nangiar). Saritha’s depiction of the navarasas stood out while Kapila bought alive the many moods of nature such as thunder, lightning, rain and so on.

‘Balivadham’

‘Balivadham’ Koodiyattam was detailed with purappad and nirvahanam. Ranjith Chakyar excelled as Sugreeva during the nirvahanam.

His technically sound, precise movements, which enriched his delineation of the various episodes that culminated in the enmity of the siblings (Sugriva and Bali), were proof of his innate talent. Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar as Bali skillfully enacted the death scene, incorporating the breathing techniques pioneered by the legendary Ammannur Madhava Chakyar. Ammannur Madhav handled the role of Hanuman.

Another play that was enacted was ‘Jataayuvadham’. The play depicts Jatayu’s valiant effort in vain to save Sita from Ravana's clutches. Ravana encounters the bird on his way to Lanka after abducting Sita. Jatayu meets his end at the hands of Ravana. Suraj Nambiar (Ravana) and Ranjith Chakyar (Jatayu) were the main actors. Suraj Nambiar’s portrayal of the mighty Ravana as he encounters the celestial elephants that is believed to guard the cardinal points of heaven, was a treat to watch. Ranjith Chakyar as Jatayu neatly enacted the rhythmic ‘Pakshisthobham’ in Lakshmi tala.

The first act of ‘Asokavanikaangam’ Koodiyattam was another play that was performed. Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar enacted Ravana and Rajaneesh Chakyar, Chitrayodhi. It was interesting to watch Ravana’s discomfiture as he grapples with his unrequited love for Sita. Even the cool moonlight seemed to warm him.

Soliloquy

The first act of the play ‘Veneesamharam’ (written by Bhattanarayanan), with Bheema as the central character, was essayed by Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar.

The various episodes such as the dice game, setting of fire to the house of the Pandavas and the disrobing of Panchali and her distress were vividly portrayed by the artiste. By depicting the actions and reactions of the Pandavas and the Kauravas during the different situations, he tried his best to do justice to this soliloquy. The fourth act of ‘Saakunthalam’ was staged with Kapila handling the role of Sakunthala.

V.K.K. Hariharan, Kalamandalam Rajeev, Naarayanan Nambiar, Hariharan, Ratheeshbhas, Ravikumar et al handled the mizhavu with edakka support from Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan and Nandakumar.

Their percussive ingenuity helped elevate the performances. Kalanilayam Parameswaran, Haridas, Saji and Prasanth handled the make-up section.