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Kalamandalam Shanmughan as Nala in ‘Nalacharitham - Day I’

Kalamandalam Shanmughan as Nala in ‘Nalacharitham - Day I’   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

A performance of ‘Nalacharitham — Day I’ in Thrissur had notable acts by the cast

Unnayi Warrier’s Nalacharitham Kathakali stands out for its poetic content and lyrical beauty. Day I of the attakatha was staged at Sreebhadra auditorium, Thrissur, recently.

The act begins with saint Narada’s entry into the palace of King Nala. When he hears about beautiful Damayanthi, daughter of Bhima, king of Kundina, from Narada, Nala falls in love with her. While lost in thoughts about her in the royal garden, he meets the golden swan (Hamsam), who agrees to act as his messenger. The bird then meets Damayanthi in her palace and a love-sick princess confesses her love for the king.

Kalamandalam Shanmughan enacted the role of Nala with ease. His movements were exemplary in the padam ‘Bhagavan narada vandhe aham..’. So was his enactment of the word ‘Vaikundam’. In the section where Nala imagines the beauty of Damayanthi, Shanmughan displayed his mastery over every aspect of acting.

Flawless acting

The padam, ‘Kundina Nayaka nandini’ showcased his flexibility and his command over expressions. In the manodharma attam that followed, Shanmughan excelled as he portrayed his state of mind using images such as moon, clouds and wind.

His interaction with the swan stood out, with the smooth flow of mudras and emotions. Sadanam Bhasi played his role to perfection (as the swan) with excellent footwork and apt body language. A highlight was his initial manodharma attam section, which he adapted from his guru, late Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair.

Although Kalamandalam Champakkara Vijayakumar looked attractive in the role of Damayanthi, his lack of involvement affected the tempo of the play. In the scene where Damayanthi is with her friends in the garden, his mannerisms and expressions were out of place. However, his performance slowly fell into the groove.

Kalamandalam Praveen enacted the roles of Narada and Sakhi (friend) and he excelled in the latter. Kalamandalam Aromal played the other friend of Damayanthi. The performance was organised by Sreebhadram Kathakali Aswadaka Samithi at Chittissery, near Thrissur.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 1:22:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/review-of-a-performance-of-nalacharitham-day-i-kathakali/article27145306.ece

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