The performance of ‘Kuchelavritham’ and ‘Sathyavan Savithri’ regaled spectators in Palakkad.

‘Kuchelavritham’ and ‘Sathyavan Savithri’ were two attakkathas performed at Moyan Memorial School in Palakkad. Both plays were focussed on the devout, devoted women characters in the play.

In ‘Kuchelavritham’, circumstances force poverty-stricken Kuchela to travel to Dwaraka to meet his former school mate Lord Krishna. It was the advice of his wife — a devotee of Krishna — which persuades him to undertake the journey.

Similarly the play ‘Sathyavan Savithri,' which was premiered in Mumbai in 1985, highlights Savithri's determination to save her husband, Sathyavan, from the clutches of death.

‘Sathyavan Savithri,' an attakkatha by A.K. Narayanan, is the depiction of the pain of a wife whose husband is under the threat of death. The story has been excerpted from the epic Mahabharatha.

The one-and-a-half hour play starts with Sathyavan and Savithri collecting fruits in the forest. Satyavan's father, Dyumalsena, who was the king of Salva, had been defeated and exiled by his enemies. Although life is uneventful in the forest, Savithri is unhappy as she knows that her husband's days on earth are numbered.

However, Sathyavan is in the dark about his fate. The first scene ends with an exhausted Sathayan going to sleep in the forest.

Brush with death

The second scene opens with Lord Yama all set to take Sathyavan's life as the prince's days on earth were over. As he completes his task and starts the returns journey, he notices Savithri following him. No amount of reasoning could persuade Savithri to stop following Yama.

Ultimately, Yama capitulates and releases her husband from the chains of death.

The third and final scene depicts Sathyavan waking up from a deep sleep and then returning home with his wife.

Kalamandalam C. Gopalakrishnan choreographed and enacted the central character of Sathyavan.

Mumbai-based Gopalakrishnan, a professor and senior artiste of Kanak Rele's ‘Nalanda Nritha Kalalaya,' proved that he is still capable of doing clean Kathakali steps during the padam ‘Mridula komal vadane...' Although he is not a familiar figure on Kathakali stages in Kerala for the last three decades, his intense training helped him come good in the portrayal of Sathyavan.

Savithri was enacted by Kalamandalam Arun Warrier. Warrier's sensitive portrayal grabbed the attention of the audience. Kalamandalam Kuttykrishnan's power-packed Yaman was a high point of the play as he combined skilful manodharmam with a strong essay of his character.

Earlier, ‘Kuchelavritham' had Kottakkal Nandakumaran Nair and Sadanam Krishnadas donning the lead roles of Kuchela and Lord Krishna respectively. Thrippayya Peethambaran enacted Rukmini. Kalamandalam Mohanakrishnan led the music and Athippatta Raveendran and Prasad supported him. Kalamandalam Vijayakrishnan (chenda) and Kalamandalam Venu (maddalam) played an important role in making the recital a memorable one.

The plays were organised by ‘Mudrakhya,' a group of art lovers in Palakkad.