Kathakali Damayanthi’s ‘parithyaagam' took centrestage at a staging of ‘Nalacharitam-Randaam Divasam' at Irinjalakuda.

Enriched as it is with poetry, music, theatrics, characterisation and dramatic possibilities, ‘Nalacharitam' is a popular play in the Kathakali repertoire. Written in Manipravalam, the story for this play has been taken from the Vanaparva of the Mahabharatha and the aattakatha has been divided into four parts (four days in Kathakali parlance).

‘Nalacharitham – Randaam Divasam' was recently staged by Ambalappuzha Sandarsan Kathakali school at Unnayi Warrier Smaraka Kalanilayam, Irinjalakuda, in connection with the 35th anniversary of Dr. K.N. Pisharody Memorial Kathakali Club. Damayanthi ‘parithyaagam' is the chief incident in this part.

After Pushkaran, on account of the malefic influence of Kali, defeats him in a game of dice, Nala and his wife, Damayanthi, are forced into exile. Once in the forest, Kali influences Nala to abandon Damayanthi and she is attacked by a python.

Saviour turned villain

In response to her cry for help, a Kattalan rescues her. However, when he tries to seduce her, Damayanthi curses him and he is reduced to ashes. Kalamandalam Shanmughadas played Nala. Kalamandalam Vijayakumar acted as Damayanthi.

Sadanam Balakrishnan appeared as kaattalan. Vinod Warrier (Kali), RLV Sunil (Dwaparan), Kalanilayam Vinodkumar (Pushkaran) and Kalamandalam Sucheendranathan (Indran) were the other performers.

Pathiyoor Sankarankutty and Kalamandalam Vinod, supported by Kalanilayam Babu handled the music with evocative rendering of the various padams. As the love and affection between Nala and Damayanthi blossomed through ‘Kuvalayavilochane' (Thodi) and ‘Saamyamakannorudyaanam' (Poorvikalyani), it was an audio visual treat for the audience.

The singers also successfully evoked the underlying moods in the padams ‘Orunaalumnirupitham' (Gowlipanthu) and ‘Alasathavilasitham'(Punnagavarali). Kalamandalam Krishnadas, Venu, Deepak (chenda), Kalanilayam Manoj and Rakesh (maddalam) handled the percussion.