A 12-day Koodiyattom festival heralded the celebration of the silver jubilee of Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam.

Koodiyattom festivals has been a regular feature of Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam, Irinjalakuda right from its founding in 1982.The twentieth festival that concluded at Natanakairali Auditorium heralded the year-long celebration of the silver jubilee of the institution. The 12-day extravaganza provided an opportunity for Koodiyattom fans to enjoy a play in full, which is unusual these days. `Soorpanakhangam' (Act II of `Ascharyachoodamani' by Sakthibadra) was staged with all the concomitant formalities, including `ninam,' which took five days to complete. It began with `purappad' by Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar and was followed by three days of `nirvahanam' by Suraj Nambiar, Rajaneesh and Pothiyil Ranjith Chakyar.

Impressive performance

The Koodiyattom on the fifth day of the play portrays a mutilated Surpanakha who makes her appearance drenched in blood. The scene, called `ninam,' usually presented by senior artistes, was impressively delineated by Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar. Eleven-year-old Ammannur Madhav, the youngest student of the Gurukulam, played Lakshmana. Acts IV and V of `Sakuntalam,' which has won international acclaim over the past five years of its production, were staged. Ranjith Chakyar (Kanwa), Kapila (Sakuntala), Suraj Nambiar (Dushyanta), Rajaneesh Chakyar (Sarangava), Aparna Nangiar (Priyamvada) and Sarita (Anasooya) exhibited maturity in their respective roles. In addition to `Jatayuvadham,' the festival also witnessed the staging of `Balivadham Koodiyattom, Act I of `Abhisheka Nataka' of poet Bhasa. Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar, heir apparent of the ageing celebrity Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar, portrayed Bali. Nangiarkooth lovers never had it so good as there were four performances. The festival itself opened with `Narasimhavataram,' the newly choreographed play by G. Venu. It differed from the conventional format as Kapila, the performer, herself executed the vaachika part on the lines of Chakyar Koothu. It was based on Jayadeva's Gita Govindam and provided immense scope for abhinaya. `Puthana Moksham' culled from `Sree Krishna Charitam' Nangiarkooth was depicted by Tomoe Tara Irino, a student of the Gurukulam. Aparna Nangiar staged `Jarasandha Yudha.' Usha Nangiar, an alumnae of the Gurukulam, presented the purappad of Mandodari. It has beenchoreographed by her in an effort to bring more women characters on the Koodiyattom stage.