Kathakali ‘Navabhava,' a three-day workshop at Karalamanna, Palakkad, was an opportunity for up-and-coming artistes to showcase their skills and expertise. Soumya E.M.
‘N avabhava,' a three-day workshop on Kathakali, conducted at Vazhenkada Kunju Nair Memorial Hall, Karalmanna, Palakkad, was a new experience for artistes and enthusiasts alike. As the title of the fete suggests, it was a perfect venue for up-and-coming artistes to display their potential and expertise.
The workshop was thoughtfully designed to showcase excerpts from 10 different attakathas, and provided an opportunity for young artistes to perform their chosen ‘Adyavasana' (important) roles and other characters of interest. Each story was followed by a detailed discussion on their performances, concentrating on each artiste's competence in various roles, considering their learning and experience. Veteran artistes such as Vazhenkada Vijayan and Narippatta Narayanan Namboothiri were part of the review panel, which proved to be a confidence booster for the youngsters.
Kalamandalam Sucheendranath performed the roles of Bheema in ‘Kalyanasougandhikam,' Sathi in ‘Dakshayagam' and Mathali in ‘Kalakeyavadham.' The artiste, gifted with an expressive face, enacted all the roles with apt expressions and poise. He excelled himself while presenting the pathinja padam ‘Panchalaraja thanaye…' within the boundaries of kalari chitta. Kalamandalam Neeraj excelled as Ravana in ‘Balivijayam,' Thrigartha in ‘Uthraswayamvaram' and Indrani in ‘Kalakeyavadham.' Physicality being his strength, Neeraj delivered the characters with immense understanding and perfection and added a bit of improvisation too.
RLV Pramod, the youngest of the lot, stood out for his skill and energy exhibited throughout his performances. His Hanuman in ‘Thoranayudham,' Parashurama in ‘Sitaswayamvaram,' and Dootha/Valala in ‘Utharaswayamvaram' were memorable for his perfect footwork (‘kalashams') and vibrancy.
Kalamandalam Chinosh Balan proved his grace and knowledge of the characters he essayed. He was at his best as Baka in ‘Bakavadham' and Keechaka in ‘Keechakavadham,' with the former winning loud applause from the audience. His presentation of Keechaka was a different take wherein he kept intact the dignity and royal nature of the character.
Kottakkal Unnikrishnan and Kalamandalam Arun Warrier were also notable for their hard work and deep knowledge of the art form. While Unnikrishnan essayed Nala in ‘Nalacharitham Randam Divasam' (pathinja padam and viraham) and Bheema in ‘Bakavadham' with ease, Arun delighted the audience as Arjuna in ‘Kalakeyavadham' and Narada in ‘Balivijayam.'
Kalamandalam Sudeep, trained in the southern style of Kathakali, donned the roles of Hanuman in ‘Kalyanasougadhikam' and Duryodhana in ‘Utharaswayamavaram,' which was a different experience when considering the definition of the characters he portrayed.
The part played by the musicians and percussionists were also invaluable to the success of the camp. It's such camps that create a platform for encouragement and motivation for artistes and heart-warming experiences for rasikas too, that reassure a bright future for Kathakali.
The workshop was organised by Vazhenkada Kunju Nair Trust with the assistance of Kerala Sangeet Nataka Akademi.