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Krishna, the emissary of peace

Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The art of storytelling with theatrical embellishments and improvised narratives has been there from time immemorial. Chakyarkoothu is one such art form that has been acknowledged for its humour and satire. An in-depth analysis will reveal the prosaic and poetic beauty of the literature handled by the Chakyars as well as their mastery of the subject, which they deliver with copious connections and references even while relating it with present-day socio-political issues.

The name Chakyar is derived from the Sanskrit word Slakhya Geer meaning noble words. Kerala folklore has been enriched with stories in which Chakyars have reformed many chieftains or Kings.

Preserving a tradition

In order to preserve this art form for posterity, a documentation of the Bhagavathdooth Prabandham of Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri was held at Irinjalakuda recently. The 21-day event, divided into three parts with over two-and-a-half hours of narration daily, was presented thespian Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar. His knowledge of Sanskrit, command over ancient scriptures, ability to attribute new meanings and comprehensive rendering were hallmarks of the performance.

Melpathur has written many Prabandhas (meaning text in Koothu) and Kuttan Chakyar, credited with performing all of them, has also presented a complete rendition of Ramayanam Prabandham.

Born in the lineage of Ammannur Chakyars, he was moulded by his grand-uncle, the legendary Ammannur Chachu Chakyar, through recitation of slokas and verses from the Ramayana Prabandham.

Strong base

He was given a strong foundation in the art of Koothu and Koodiyattam by his maternal uncles Ammannur Madhava Chakyar and Ammannur Parameswara Chakyar in the traditional Gurukula system of learning.

Bhagavathdooth, also known as Dhoothavakyam, deals with the diplomatic and tactful dealings of Lord Krishna and his dialogues with Kauravas to avoid an imminent war. Kuttan Chakyar dealt with each sloka in detail, revealing their inner meaning as well as general description.

One of the features of the work is that it is replete with classic Sanskrit and the strength of the language is clearly evident. Each slokam provides ample scope for detailed presentation, connecting it with present-day subjects. Depiction of Viswaroopam on the last day and the delineation of the text by Kuttan Chakyar was a treat for the audience. Mizhavu was handled by Narayanan Nambiar and thalam by Aparna Nangiar and Indira Nangiar.


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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 12:22:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/melpathur-narayana-bhattathiris-bhagavathdhooth-staged-over-21-days/article26941106.ece

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