Arangu 2012, a three-day Kathakali festival at Irinjalakuda, provided new insights to the artistes and to the audience.

A three-day Kathakali festival – Arangu 2012 – at Irinjalakuda was an attempt at promoting Kathakali, keeping in mind the overall development of the performing level of artistes and the aesthetic evaluation by audiences. Organised by Thiranottam, a Dubai-based organisation, it saw a bunch of artistes being given refresher courses to improve their skills under the guidance of masters. Thiranottam plans to stage select Kathakali plays at 12 different places in a year.

Thiranottam selected Sadanam Bhasi, Kalamandalam Manojkumar and Kalamandalam Shanmukhadas. They were given rigorous training by Sadanam Balakrishnan. Each and every aspect of the selected play was discussed extensively, creative inputs incorporated and executed, so that, at the end of the Cholliyatta Kalari, the actors were able to come up with refreshing interpretations.

Four Kathakali plays of a diverse nature, namely ‘Kiratham’, ‘Nalacharitham Onnam Divasam’, ‘Kalyanasougandhikam’ and ‘Narakasuravadham’ were selected this year.

The variety provided the audience an opportunity to enjoy the variegated aspects and techniques of Kathakali.

Three other plays, ‘Santhanagoplam’, ‘Ravanavijayam’ and ‘Bakavadham’ were also staged as part of the schedule with leading artistes such as Kalamandalam Gopi, Vazhengada Vijayan and Kalanilayam Raghavan participating in the performances. A number of accompanying artistes enhanced the show. Music section was headed by Gangadharan and Madambi Subramanian Namboodiri who stuck to the tradition.

Some among the younger generation musicians seemed to drift away from the traditional path with too much experimentation. The percussion department performed beautifully, accentuating the views of the performers.

A sopana sangeetham performance by M. Krishnankutty Marar added to the glitter of the event.