Reviews

Koodiyattam festival in Kerala capital brought together scores of practitioners of the art form for a scintillating display

A scene from Thoranayuddhankam

A scene from Thoranayuddhankam   | Photo Credit: Jawaharji K

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About 90 artistes in total representing several training centres across the State were part of the fête was organised by SNA Kutiyattam Kendra

Koodiyattam enthusiasts enjoyed a five-day fête that showcased a variety of performances under the programme ‘Koothambalam Art Forms’. About 90 artistes in total representing several training centres across the State were part of the festival in the capital city.

A highlight was the staging in full of ‘Thoranayuddhankam’, the third Act in Sanskrit playwright Bhasa’s Abhishekanatakam.

Subsequent to Kalamandalam Jishnu Prathap’s purappadu of Sankukarna, an attendant of Ravana, nirvahnam of the same character was handled by Nepathya Yadukrishnan and Pothiyil Ranjith Chakyar. Margi Madhu Chakyar and Nepathya Rahul Chakyar enacted the roles of Ravana and Sankukarna respectively in Nepathya’s presentation of the first day’s Koodiyattam. Presenting the second day of the play, Mani Madhava Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam’s PK Hareesh Nambiar (Ravana) and Margi Raman Chakyar (Sankukarna) took centre stage. On the third day, Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam’s Sooraj Nambiar essayed Ravana’s role along with Pothiyil Ranjith Chakyar who played Vibhishana, while Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar enacted Hanuman. They were complemented by Tharun and Krishnadev as rakshasas.

A scene from Swapanavasavadattam

A scene from Swapanavasavadattam   | Photo Credit: Jawaharji K

Saktibhadra’s Ascharyachoodamani (Act V Asokavanikankam) and Balivadham included in Bhasa’s Abhishekanatakam were staged by Margi, with Sajeev Narayana Chakyar as Ravana, Raman Chakyar as Chitrayodhi (Ravana’s minister) and Ammannur Parameswara Chakyar, alias Kuttan Chakyar, as Bali, while Sarita Krishnakumar donned the role of Tara, his queen.

Select scenes of Bhasa’s Swapanavasavadattam were staged under the direction of thespians Rama Chakyar and Girija representing Kalamandalam. Rama Chakyar essayed the roles of Vidhooshaka and Yaugandharayana in the guise of a Brahmin, who was supported by Sangeet Chakyar (Udayanan), Krishnendu (Padmavati), Jayalakshmi (Vasavadatta), Rasmi (Dhatri), Sajitha (Pratihaari) and Manchunath (Kanchukiyan). Girija’s team included Sajitha (Madhurika), Nila (Padmavati), Sangeeta (Vasavadatta) and Prasanti (Padminika). Kalamandalam Jishnu Prathap, enacting Sankukarna, detailed the huge damage caused by Hanuman to Ravana’s favourite garden. Nepathya Yadukrishnan narrated how Ravana, empowered with Lord Siva’s boons, took Mandodari for his spouse, and got hold of the divine aircraft Pushpaka, subjugating Vaisravana. Pothiyil Ranjith Chakyar briefly enacted how Ravana obtained Siva’s formidable sword ‘Chandrahaasa’.

Margi Madhu Chakyar’s presentation of Ravana cast a spell over the audience through his entry holding two burning torches, roars and overall appearance as the embodiment of uncontrollable wrath.

Kalamandalam Sangeeth Chakyar (left) and Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar in Swapanavasavadattam

Kalamandalam Sangeeth Chakyar (left) and Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar in Swapanavasavadattam   | Photo Credit: Jawaharji K

PK Hareesh Nambiar presented laudably Ravana’s response to Sankukarna’s report that Hanuman, who wreaked havoc in the palace garden, has annihilated the Rakshasa warriors deputed to capture him.

Seated on the throne majestically, Sooraj Nambiar’s Ravana awaited the arrival of Hanuman who reportedly yielded to Meghanada’s Brahmastra. ‘Lifting of Mount Kailasa’ (Kailasodharanam) and ‘Parvati’s separation’ (Parvati Viraham) were presented dexterously, with due attention paid to to subtle details and emotiveness that explored the potential of saatvika abhinaya.

Deft presentation

Margi Sajeev Narayana Chakyar’s enaction of the ‘himakaram’ scene delineating Ravana’s pangs of love for Sita was a treat in itself. Kuttan Chakyar’s deft presentation of the slaying of Bali showcased his experience. Rama Chakyar’s Vidhooshaka highlighted relevant aspects of Swapnavasavadattam by embellishing the narration with sparkles of humour. Girija’s insistence on perfection permeated her show and the scene depicting the plight of Vasavadatta who had to make the auspicious garland for her husband’s wedding to Padmavati was commendable.

The fête included three top-class Ashwathama recitals — ‘Conversation between Hanuman and Sita’, ‘Revenge against Ashwathama’ and ‘Lifting of the Mount Govardhana’ — that were presented with élan by Kalamandalam Sindhu, Usha Nangiar and Kalamandalam Rasmi respectively.

Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar as Vidhooshaka in Swapanavasavadattam

Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar as Vidhooshaka in Swapanavasavadattam   | Photo Credit: Jawaharji K

Kalamandalam Sangeeth Chakyar and Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar briefly but effectively presented Koothu based on prose-cum-verse narratives called ‘prabandhas’, describing Hanuman crossing the ocean and going about his errand.

PK Unnikrishnan Nambiar’s Pathakam recital based on the episode Kiratham (story of Siva in the guise of a hunter) revealed some of the facets by which Chakyarkoothu was adapted so as to reach out to the common people. The contribution from ace percussionists playing the mizhavu, the edakka and the thimila was commendable. Three recitals of ‘mizhavu thayambaka’ led by alumni of Kalamandalam, including veteran Eswaran Unni, Rahul Aravind and Sivaprasad and an ensemble called ‘mizhavu melam’ presented by Unnikrishnan Nambiar and Sajikumar revealed the versatility of the instrument.

The fête was organised by SNA Kutiyattam Kendra.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 11:09:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/koodiyattam-festival-in-kerala-capital-brought-together-scores-of-practitioners-of-the-art-form-for-a-scintillating-display/article30276926.ece

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