Play of expressions in Kirmeeravadham Kathakali

Kalamandalam Shanmukhan and Kalamandalam Radhakrishnan did a fine job in visualising the scenes in Kirmeeravadham Kathakali

Updated - June 03, 2019 12:53 pm IST

Published - May 30, 2019 05:36 pm IST - Kochi

Lalitha and Panchali in the play Kirmeeravadhom

Lalitha and Panchali in the play Kirmeeravadhom

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.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.