Lalitha-Panchali, an excerpt from Kirmeeravadham Kathakali, is an amazing confluence of thauryathrika (dance, theatre and music), which rasikas have enjoyed over a long period of time. The same was presented recently at Edappally. Kalamandalam Shanmukhan who has proven his talent in presenting lead female characters in Kathakali appeared as Lalitha (Simhika, the demoness disguised as an ethereal beauty).
The padam ‘Nallarkulamaniyum mauli maale’ (addressing Panchali), executed in the slow tempo of Adantha tala, is quite demanding in terms of technique and range of expressions. Each word in the pallavi , anupallavi and charanams calls for detailed exposition by the artiste.
Endowed with a flair for eye-expressions and an admirable grip over rhythm and tempos, Shanmukhan comfortably conveyed the implications of the images that substantially contributed towards the many-layered sringara rasa . The actor succeeded in suggesting the character’s true identity and original intention in between the lines. ‘Allanikuzhalae’, in which Lalitha likens the hair of Panchali with the depth of darkness.
Kalamandalam Radhakrishnan as Panchali was in a stoic mood while Lalitha was all praise for her beauty and glory. He could have responded slightly to the words of Lalitha by showing expressions of curiosity, mild surprise and delight.
The way he enacted the padam, ‘Drupadabhoopathithande’, however, came as a relief. With a shift in tempo, the next padam was ‘Kandalathimodam’ in raga Kamboji and in tala Chembada.
Here mention must be made about the visualisation of the lines in the charanam, ‘vallikaanatikal’ (dancing creepers) and ‘Kusumanikaramithaa pozhiyunnu’ (falling of the bunch of flowers). The irattis following the padaradhabhinaya had a telling effect.
Lalitha’s mood changing to anger and vengeance was powerfully portrayed and ably supported by the kalasam (dance), which is typical of the normal female roles.
Kalamandalam Babu Namboodiri, accompanied by Yaswanth, sang in tune with the thoroughly choreographed visual phrases of the two female characters.
‘Kuravakatharu’ rendered in raga Kapi bore a distinctive flavour. Kalamandalam Prakasan followed the actions and expressions of the actors on the maddalam, paying attention to details. The gamaka-laden music of the edakka was conspicuous by its absence.
The performance was held under the auspices of the Kathakali Aswadaka Sadas at Changampuzha Samskarika Kendram.