It may not be an easy task for anybody to re-enact the emotional scene of Karuthamma bidding goodbye to her lover, Pareekutty in the film ‘Chemmeen,’ based on Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai’s evergreen novel of the same title. So etched is the scene in the minds of people that Kalamandalam Ganesh of Natyakala, Alappuzha is a little nervous inspite of his 37 year long experience when he stages Kathakali named ‘ Pareekuttiyum Karuthammayum,’ at the literary festival in connection with Thakazhi’s birth centenary at Ambalappuzha near here on Thursday.
It is the intensity of emotions that the scene contains that prompted Mahesh Natyakala, a disciple of Mr. Ganesh to try out Thakazhi’s love story. “We hit upon the idea when somebody came up with the screenplay of ‘Chemmeen’ when a group of engineering students wanted to have a kathakali in Palakkad. I chose this scene of its emotional intensity.
Later, my guru, Mr. Ganesh changed the script to suit Kathakali,” recalls Mr. Mahesh.
The scene begins with Karuthamma coming to see Pareekutty to bid goodbye to him as she is getting married the next day. “The arrival of Karuthamma on the scene is symbolized as the arrival of a high wave to the shore and which makes a retreat after hitting the shore. ‘Chenda' will be used in the ‘Iratti’ pattern to enact this arrival of Karuthamma. We are emphasizing on ‘bhava abhinayam’ (emoting) rather than ‘mudra abhinayam’ (acting through hand gestures) in this Kathakali,” says Mr. Ganesh.
The 45-minute kathakali has Karuthamma as a character who along with her mother is helpless before an obstinate father. “We have used Ahir Bhairav and ranjini ragams to show the intensity of emotions in the Kathakali padams,” says Mr. Ganesh.
While, Mr. Ganesh, who loves to portray women characters, himself comes as Karuthamma, Varanad Sanalkumar plays Pareekutty. The songs are rendered by Kalamandalam Sajeevkumar and ‘chenda’ by Kalamandalam Sreekumar. Kalamandalam Rakesh plays the ‘maddalam’ and the ‘chutti’ (make-up) is handled by Mr. Mahesh.
There are also some changes in costumes. Mr. Ganesh describes it as ‘an experiment’. But he believes the experiment will bring more and more people closer to Kathakali.