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When the gods clashed

Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar as Parasurama in ‘Parasuramavijayam’ Koodiyattam

Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar as Parasurama in ‘Parasuramavijayam’ Koodiyattam   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar stood tall as Parasurama in a recital of Parasuramavijayam Koodiyattam in the capital city

A Koodiyattam performance in Thiruvananthapuram began with the ceremonial entry (‘praavesikam’) of belligerent sage Parasurama; he is furious that his preceptor Siva’s sacred bow had been broken into pieces by Rama to win King Janaka’s daugher Sita’s hand in marriage.

Threatening to kill Rama and Lakshmana, he runs towards them wielding his battle axe. While Rama recapitulates the recent past, Lakshmana encounters Parasurama who holds a fierce axe as well as an ascetic’s water-jug and several other items of a contradictory nature. Replying to Lakshmana’s query, Rama explains to him that the stranger is none other than the warrior sage Parasurama.

Rama and Lakshmana bow before the sage respectfully and enquire the reason for his fury. That enrages him further. He is about to strike Rama with his axe when Lakshmana intervenes, pointing out that the rulers’ weapon was their bow whereas the Brahmins had the sacred thread for their weapon. When Parasurama challenges Lakshmana for a fight, Rama tries to pacify the sage saying that his younger brother is still a callow youth.

After narrating in detail about his exploits while killing several generations of warriors, Parasurama calms down a little. Exhibiting a huge bow associated with Vishnu, the sage asks Rama to bend it.

Rama meets the challenge in no time. Parasurama recognises the identity of Rama as Vishnu’s incarnation. Prior to his exit, Parasurama extols Rama in all humility and wishes that he be powerful to kill the demons including Ravana.

The episode Parasuramavijayam (‘The Victory of Parasurama’) was presented by the Ammannur team of artistes led by Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar who laudably compiled the performance manual (‘attaprakaram’) of the same. The young thespian has contributed significantly to the repertoire of Koodiyattam, remodelling the concerned section in the Sanskrit play Prasannaraghavam ascribed to the 12th century poet Jayadeva, widely known for the romantic poem Gitagovinda.

Laudable performance

Rajaneesh filled the performance with vigour and energy. He displayed emotions of tempestuousness, respect to the preceptor, contempt towards opponents, sarcasm and self-effacing submission to the Almighty in perfect unison with the context. On several occasions he touched the pinnacle of emotional acting. Rajaneesh showcased all that he imbibed from his illustrious gurus, beginning with the legendary Ammannur Madhava Chakyar and maestros such as Ammannur Parameswara Chakyar and Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar.

Ammannur Madhav Chakyar (Junior) and Sivaprasad Madhava Chakyar in ‘Parasuramavijayam’ staged in Thiruvananthapuram

Ammannur Madhav Chakyar (Junior) and Sivaprasad Madhava Chakyar in ‘Parasuramavijayam’ staged in Thiruvananthapuram   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Ammannur Madhav Chakyar (Junior) and Sivaprasad Madhava Chakyar donned the roles of Rama and Lakshmana, complementing the lead actor. Rajeev, Hariharan and Saji, all alumni of Kerala Kalamandalam, played the mizhavu dexterously providing the suitable ambience for the performance. Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan on the edakka appeared to have little or nothing to contribute to the wonderfully resonant playing of the two mizhavu in this episode. Anjana S Chakyar’s demonstration of gestures was graceful. The programme was sponsored by the Sangeet Natak Academy’s Kutiyattam Kendra in the capital city.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 4:10:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/a-recital-of-parasuramavijayam-koodiyattam-in-the-capital-city/article28883270.ece

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