Padayani is no child’s play. But eight-year-old Adityu Manoj has attained heights in this ritualistic art form of central Travancore, performing the tough Kalan Kolam at the Padayani festival at the ancient Bhagavathy temple of Madhathilkavu at Naranganam, near Kozhencherry, on Monday night.
Kalan Kolam is a complicated Padayani dance that enjoys kingly status and usually, only a master artist performs it.
Adityu, a class 3 student at a village school and son of Manoj and Smitha, has been learning Padayani under Raghavan Nair and Radhakrishnan Nair at the Paithruka Kala Kalari at Naranganam since April 2012. The Kalari authorities told The Hindu that they had approached the Guinness Book officials in India for considering Adityu’s performance as a world record.
Wearing a crown-shaped colourful headgear made of areca spathes and a skirt made of tender palm leaves, the boy took a number of complicated strides in the Kalan Kolam performance. The spectators, most of them devotees, were amazed to witness him performing in the “Adantha” single style, which requires skill, artistic awareness and experience.
The astounding performance lasted about an hour. As an adept performer, Adityu, with a sword in his right hand and a torch in the left, jumped back and forth and occasionally, climbed on a wooden seat to take several paces.
The performance was based on Markandeya Charitom, story of Sage Markandeya of the Puranas. The legend is of Markandeya being saved by Siva from the clutches of death.
Adityu performed the tough Kalan Kolam, a challenge even for master artistes.