Kathakali ‘Kamsavadham’ narrates the events that led to the end of the mighty Kamsa. K.K. Gopalakrishnan

Kamsa's (Vazhengada Vijayan) anger knows no bounds when he hears from Narada (Kalamandalam Aravindan) that Devaki's sons Balarama and Krishna are still alive.

Former principal of Kerala Kalamandalam Vazhengada Vijayan unfolded this scene in a manner that reminded the audience of his late father-cum-mentor, Vazhengada Kunju Nair. There was no over use of mudras or bhavas. Akkoora (Balasubramanian) is sent by Kamsa to invite his nephews to Madhura.

Role, played well

Balasubramanian as Akkoora, depicted a devout follower of Vishnu well when he steps into Ambadi and sprinkles the soil of Ambadi ‘that has been blessed with the Lord's footprints’ on his head. Arun Ramesh who played (Balarama) and Vipin who played (Krishna) leave for Mathura with Akkroora.

On the way, Krishna blesses the hunchback Kubja (Sooraj) and her back is straightened. The play ends with Krishna killing Kamsa.

Lokadharmi gestures

The art of Kathakali allows characters like the mahouts in ‘Kamsavadham’ to depict lokadharmi gestures, the scope of which Ebin Babu and Aravind used.

Nevertheless, the mahouts of Dwapara Yuga carrying drinks in Pepsi bottles left much to be desired. Other actors include Neeraj (Chanooran) and Chinosh Balan (Mushtikan). Harish Namboodiri and Sreejith performed the vocals. Kalanilayam Kunjunny and Deepak played the chenda, and Hari Narayanan and Purushothaman played the maddalam, well.

Though an interesting act with ample potential for leads in Kathi and Pacha attire to come forth with their acting prowess, ‘Kamsavadham’, authored by Kilimanoor Ravivarma, was not usually performed in central-north Kerala but occasionally in the south.

Vazhengada Vijayan says: “It was more than four decades ago that I had performed ‘Kamsavadham' and donned the same role.”

The play was staged by Thrissur Kathakali Club.