VINU VASUDEVAN

Kottarakkara Thampuran's `Vichinnabhishekam,' restructured by Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharodi, was staged at Kongad.

With slick editing and excellent choreography, it was the new format of Kottarakkara Thampuran's `Vichinnabhishekam Kathakali' that was staged at Sree Bhagavathy Temple, Kongad. Organised by the Cultural Department, Government of India, the programme was held in connection with a financial grant that is being given by the department for restyling old and new attakkathas. This year, the grant was given to Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharodi who performed `Vichinnabhishekam' from the Ramayana, which is a rare piece. Pisharodi, who retired from Kalamandalam six years ago, has choreographed several new attakathas such as `Krishnaleela,' and `Ravanaputhri.' He said that it was the variety of characters and the possibilities for incorporating music that made him select this play.

Complicated play

A complicated play owning to the number of characters involved, it was Pisharodi's disciples who staged the attakkatha. `Vichinnabhishekam' traces the story of how Rama was exiled. From when Mandhara, Kaikeyi's maid servant, poisons Kaikeyi's mind, to Rama leaving for the forest, to his blessing Bharatha, all were deftly handled by his students. Ettumanoor Kannan played the role of King Dasaradha. The two leading female roles of the play were donned by Kalamanalam Vijayakumar and Kalamandalam Shanmughan. The lead role of Rama was donned by Kalamandalam Mukundan who did it with perfect mudras and mukhabhinaya. Kalamandalam Sajan and Sadanam Sadanandan played Bharatha and Sumanthra respectively. Excellent music and percussion lent the performance charm. Kalamandalam Vinod, Kalanilayam Rajiv and Rajesh Menon handled the vocals.