Nepathya organised a four-day Koodiyattam festival to pay tribute to the late Moozhikkulam Kochukuttan Chakyar.

Nepathya Centre for Excellence in Koodiyattam revived the memory of its acharya Moozhikkulam Kochukuttan Chakyar with a grand memorial function and a four-day Koodiyattam festival at its koothambalam at Moozhikkulam. On the inaugural day, Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar presented 'Bhagavaddoodh Chakyarkoothu', which was well appreciated by the audience.

The Koodiyattam festival was remarkable with the staging of three acts from Sakthibhadra's 'Ascharyachoodamani'.

Fateful meeting

‘Parnasalankam' was enacted by Margi Madhu and Indu G. The act depicted the meeting of Lakshmana and Soorpanakha, who was disguised as Lalitha, a beautiful lady. As directed by Lord Rama, she approaches Lakshmana. All of Lakshmana's efforts to turn her away were in vain. Moreover, Lakshmana fails to be moved by her beauty or passion.

Madhu and Indu were brilliant in their respective roles. Their subtle expressions and movements transported the audience to the world of the epics.

The third day witnessed ‘Mayasitankam,' the third act of ‘Ascharyachoodamani.' It started with the entry of Ravana, his charioteer and his sister Soorpanakha. He intends to kidnap Sita. The three disguise themselves as Rama, Lakshmana and Sita respectively. Sita is taken in by the disguise of Ravana and his charioteer. Believing the duo to be her husband and brother-in-law, she goes with them from her parnasala.

Creative variation

This portion is an expressive variation from the popular story of Ramayana in which Ravana, disguised as a monk, kidnaps Sita. The act provided ample opportunities for both drama and performance. Margi Raman and Margi Usha brought to life the characters of Ravana and Sita with their balanced approach. Nepathya Rahul, Nepathya Saneesh, Vishnuprasad and Yadukrishnan were the other actors on the stage.

The fourth day's ‘Agnipravesankam' is the seventh act of ‘Ascharyachoodamani.' Rama, Lakshmana, Sugreeva and Hanuman are the main characters in this act. Sita is saved from Ravana's clutches. However, but for Sugreeva, the others fail to understand what she has been through. To prove her fidelity she decides to undergo a trial by fire.

The act is highly dramatic as spectators are moved by Sita's plight. Margi Narayanan, Margi Sathi, Nepathya Saneesh, Nepathya Vishnuprasad and Nepathya Yadukrishnan handled their roles with care and came up with a memorable performance that touched the viewers.

Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan, Kalamandalam Hariharan, Kalamandalam Rathheshbhas, Kalamandalam Anoop, Kalamandalam Manikantan and Nepathya Jinesh enriched the fete with their praise-worthy performance on the mizhavu.

Kalamandalam Rajan and Margi Mohanan played the edakka and thimila respectively. Indu G. and Nepathya Anjana rendered the tala and Kalamandalam Satheesan was in charge of chutty.

Sakthibhadra's ‘Ascharyachoodamani,' the Sanskrit play based on the Ramayana, consists of four more acts namely ‘Soorpanakhankam,' ‘Jatayu vadhankam,' ‘Asokavnikankam' and ‘Anguliankam.'

It was the late Kochukuttan Chakyar who strived hard to bring ‘Ascharyachoodamani' on stage. He along with his disciples incessantly worked for the preservation and growth of the theatre. The fete was an apt homage for Kochukuttan Chakyar.

Keywords: NepathyaKoodiyattam

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