Captivating Kathakali performance in Thrissur

A scene during Nivatakavacha Kalakeya Vadham

A scene during Nivatakavacha Kalakeya Vadham   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Seasoned artistes showcased nuanced performances of Kirmeeravadham and Nivatakavacha Kalakeya Vadham in Thrissur

All the four Kathakali plays of Kottayathu Thampuran render aesthetic authenticity to the principal characters through detailed execution of the angika and the satwikaabhinayas that adhere to the codified structure of classical dance-drama. Recently, Kottayathu Thampuran’s Kirmeeravadham and Nivatakavacha Kalakeya Vadham were performed at a four-day event, Rangasukrutham, in Thrissur.

The Kathakali festival began with the performance of Kirmeeravadham with maestro Kalamandalam Gopi playing the role of Dharmaputra. Though not in full swing, the artiste put across the dominant mood of the character convincingly in the enactment of the slow-tempo padam ‘Bale keli ne’, addressing Panchali and lamenting her predicament.

The pathinja iratti (a movement-choreography in the slow tempo of chembada tala), which carries a distinctive grace when expressed by Gopi, was, this time, just touched upon.

In the latter part, however, he regained his radiance, especially in the scene when the Sun god made an appearance to gift the ‘Akshaya paatram’ (divine vessel) that ensured food for all till the time Panchali had had her supper. Gopi made memorable the moment when Dharmaputra experiences bliss as he holds the ‘paatram’.

As Panchali, Kalamandalam (Champakara) Vijaya Kumar sustained the sthayi bhava, (dominant mood) of soka (anguish), throughout. The viewers were treated to yet another spark of Gopi’s theatrical acumen in the scene featuring Dharmaputra and Krishna, wherein Dharmaputra exploded in a fit of anger and anguish for the line ‘njangalekkandoru nanamillayo’ (Seeing us, are you not ashamed?). Seasoned artiste Sadanam Krishnankutty eloquently essayed the role of Krishna who is deeply moved by the plight of the Pandavas and summons his Sudarsana chakra to annihilate the Kauravas. Together, the two artistes dazzled the spectators with their spectacular identification with the varying temperaments of the characters. Vocals led by Kottakkal Madhu, chenda by Kalamandalam Krishnadas and maddalam by Kalamandalam Raj Narayanan enriched every visual frame with vitality and swarabhava.

On the third day of the festival, an unabridged presentation of Nivatakavacha Kalakeya Vadham was staged. Kalamandalam Harinarayanan as Indra and Guruvayoor Haridas as Mathali cautiously performed the gestures and the kalasams while exercising restraint in satwikabhinaya. Mathali could have been a bit more vivacious. Veteran actor Kalamandalam Balasubramanyan portrayed the stateliness of Arjuna in the much-acclaimed padam Salajjoham (Ashamed am I).

Since Kalamandalam Gopi was sitting right in front of the audience to watch his disciple’s histrionic competence, Balasubramanyan seemed to be a little too self-conscious. He, however, was back in his element for the padam to Indra, Janaka thava darshanaal (Seeing you, father) and during his dialogue to Indrani in which the well-versed ashtakalaasam for the charanam ‘Sukrithkalil mumbanaayi’ enthralled the spectators.

The artiste did the swargavarnana (description of the heaven), a non-textual improvisation, quite fluently. In the following scene, the two chuvanna thaadi (red-bearded) characters, Vajrakethu and Vajrabahu, energised the atmosphere with their dynamic performances.

Evocative rendering of slokams and padams by Kalamandalam Babu Namboodiri and Vinod, vibrant melam by Kalamandalam Balasundaran and Cherpulassery Hariharan electrified the nritya and natya segments of the play admirably.

The event was organised by Cherpu Kathakali Aswadana Vedi, which has been upholding the core tenets of Kathakali through presentation of weighty plays wherein eminent and up-and-coming artistes don notable roles.

Rangasukrutham was held at Sopanam Auditorium, Cherpu, Thrissur.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 3:22:48 PM |

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