The dance production Kallazhgar captured the grandeur of the annual Chithirai thiruvizha procession

The production, a blend of impressive stage craft techniques and choreography, took the audience on a journey to Tirumaliruncholai

August 09, 2023 03:23 pm | Updated 03:23 pm IST

From ‘Kallazhagar’ at Narada Gana Sabha in Chennai.

From ‘Kallazhagar’ at Narada Gana Sabha in Chennai. | Photo Credit: RAVINDRAN R

Every year, Darshanam Art Creations takes the audience on a journey to a kshetram, and this time it was to Tirumaliruncholai. Conceptualised and curated by Asha Krishna Kumar, the production, titled ‘Kallazhagar’, wasbuilt around the Chithirai tiruvizha of Azhagar’s procession from Tirumaliruncholai to Vaigai to free Manduka rishi from sage Durvasa’s curse. It also also highlighted the key elements of the temple such as Pathinettampadi Karuppusamy, devotion of Koorathazhwar, and love of Andal for Azhagar. Reminiscent of A.P. Nagarajan’s cinematography for yesteryear devotional films, the set for this production, with yali pillars on the side wings, and a mandapam and gopuram with a mountainous landscape for a backdrop was created in great detail by Shanmugam. Murugan’s lighting enhanced the stage and performance .

‘Kallazhagar’ took audience on a journey to river Vaigai

‘Kallazhagar’ took audience on a journey to river Vaigai | Photo Credit: RAVINDRAN R

Senior dancer and teacher Jayanthi Subramaniam knit together stories associated with Kallazhagar and presented them through aesthetically choreographed dance sequences. Pushpanjali by a group of graceful dancers brought into focus the beauty of the temple. In the next sequence, the detailed depiction of the origin of the temple and the story of yamadharma constructing it for Azhagar, helped the audience understand the production better. The segment portraying 18 tantric maayavis, sent by the king of Malabar to steal the Utsavamoorthi, entering the temple premises with their faces painted in black, and their eventual arrest, were highlighted through an interesting series of events associated with Pathinettampadi Karuppusamy the guardian diety. The sequences were choreographed in a dramatic manner. 

‘Kallazhagar’ captured the beauty of the Tirumaliruncholai temple

‘Kallazhagar’ captured the beauty of the Tirumaliruncholai temple | Photo Credit: RAVINDRAN R

Folk dance such as oyilattam, karagattam, kummi and devarattam performed during Chithirai Tiruvuzha lacked the colour and energy of these forms. Manasa, who played Andal, conveyed well the nuances of the lovelorn state of a young girl. i The grandeur of Azhagar’s procession and the depiction of the rituals, flowed seamlessly from one scene to another. The miniature version of the golden horse carrying Azhagar on the pallakku was realistic.  Since the purpose of the production was to highlight the grandeur of Azhagar’s entry into the river. However, his journey on a golden horse could have been depicted more effectively with dynamic choreographic explorations, combined with imagery on the video projection screen.

Colourful dances in the production

Colourful dances in the production | Photo Credit: RAVINDRAN R

The musical score by Rajkumar Bharathi cut across genres, especially in the Dasavatharam tillana, which was a blend of classical, semi classical and folk dance styles. The use of a distinct mudhra for each avatar was beautifully incorporated into the thillana. Narration was by Malola Kannan, and the resource persons for the production were Sundarrajan Bhattar, Damal Ramakrishnan and Chithra Madhavan. Soundsape was by Sai Shravanam.

Top News Today

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.