Arts

Tale of two mothers

A scene from Krishnaleela. Kalamandalam Shanmughom and Kalamandalam Vijayakumar.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

‘Krishnaleela' attakatha, penned by P. Venugopal, is a recent addition to the repertoire of Kathakali plays. It was recently staged at Ernakulathappan Hall, Kochi.

Dr. Venugopal adapted the story from the Bhagavatham and brilliantly created a dramatic sequence in which Devaki, the mother of Lord Krishna, meets Krishna's foster mother, Yashoda. The interaction between Devaki and Yashoda provides the actors who enact these roles ample opportunity to exhibit their skill and mastery over the art of acting. Captivating performances by Kalamandalam Shanmughan (Yashoda) and Kalamandalam Vijayakumar (Devaki) and melodious recitals by Kalamandalam Babu Namboodiri and Kalanilayam Rajeev were the highlights of the performance.

After slaying Kamsa, Lord Krishna rescues his parents and meets his birth mother, Devaki, for the first time. When Devaki laments over how she was not able to watch Krishna's childhood days, Krishna suggests she hear all about it from his foster mother Yashoda, who looked after Krishna in Devaki's absence. In the subsequent scene, Yashoda meets Devaki.

Through pakarnattam (an artistic technique of Kathakali and Koodiyattom by which earlier events are recounted), Shanmughan portrayed important events of Krishna's childhood days such as ‘Poothana moksham', ‘Ullokha bandhanam', ‘Bakavadham', ‘Kaliya mardhanam', and so on.

Skilful transformation

Shanmughan easily transformed from one character to another in each of the episodes and enthralled the spectators with his acting talent. While enacting Poothana moksham, he skilfully depicted the expressions of Poothana and those of the infant Krishna. Shanmughan also well portrayed the grief of a mother who is forced to part from her son after looking after him for 14 years.

While Yashoda narrates the events, Devaki watches it with a range of emotions. Kalamandalam Rajeev enacted Lord Krishna. The main vocalist Kalamandalam Babu Namboodiri, who scored the music for the lyrics as well, was supported by Kalanilayam Rajeev. Their melodious rendition of the padams ‘Janani….' and ‘Devaki devi…' was outstanding. The selection of ragas for each of the padams was apt.

Percussionists Kalanilayam Manoj and Kalanilayam Ratheesh supported the actors.

The performance was organised by Ernakulam Kathakali Club and Ernakulam Siva Kshethra Khema Samiti.


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Printable version | Sep 9, 2021 5:05:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/arts/tale-of-two-mothers/article3527998.ece

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