The story of Ravana in ‘Balivijayam' was unfolded through Kottackal Chandrasekharan's able acting. T.K. Sadasivan

There are certain characters in the Kathakali repertoire that facilitate actors to bring out their best and exhibit their proficiency in the art. Ravana of ‘Balivijayam' is one such character. It comes as no surprise then that Kottackal Chandrasekharan donned the role of Ravana with aplomb during the staging of ‘Balivijayam' in Kochi.

‘Balivijayam,' written by Kalloor Neelakandan Namboothiri, is a poetically rich and visually brilliant attakatha full of dramatic moments. The play took off with Narada's visit to Lanka. Only two scenes in the play were enacted.

False praise

In the first scene, Narada begins praising Ravana and blows the King over with his long-winding flatery. Then to provoke him, Narada slyly adds that there is a person called Bali who can prove to be a challenge for Ravana.

A furious Ravana decides to fight Bali and kill him. Kottackal Chandrasekharan beautifully depicted the Kailasodhranam and subsequently, through pakarnnattam, he portrayed the scene at Kailasa, in which Parvathi fights with Siva because of his affair with Ganga. The portrayal of the ‘Jalakreeda' of Parvathi was also magnificent. He depicted well the distinct features of each character with apt movements and exquisite facial expressions. His kalaasams were also perfect.

Bali's thiranottam

The second scene opened with the thiranottam of Bali. While preparing for the evening rites and awaiting the arrival of Ravana, he narrates how he received the blessings of Indra. Kottackal Devadas, who donned the role of Bali, portrayed the ‘Palazhi mathanam' sequence through pakarnnattam.

FACT Padmanabhan donned the role of Narada and with brisk movements he portrayed the role well. Vocal support by Kalamandalam Rajendran and Nedumpalli Rammohan was good.

Kurur Vasudevan Namboodiri (chenda) and Kalamandalam Prakasan on (maddalam) supported the actors. The play was organised by Ernakulam Kathakali Club.