Review: ‘Marattam’ honours veteran Kathakali artiste Sadanam Krishnankutty

Dakshayagam Kathakali   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In the history of Kathakali, the school of training that evolved in central Kerala, famously known as Kalluvazhichitta, today enjoys a pre-eminent position not only for its adherence to a high degree of discipline in the four-fold concept of acting but for its diversity too. Three of its maestros, whose stylistics in dancing and acting differed from one another, were Thekkinkattil Ravunni Nair, Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair and Kottakkal Krishnankutty Nair.

Sadanam Krishnankutty is a disciple of these three titans. While the veteran artiste has drawn inspiration from his gurus, instead of aping them, he fashioned a style of his own with which he has enchanted rasikas for almost half a century.

With equal felicity

‘Marattam,’ a day-long programme was held at Changampuzha Park, Edappally, Kochi, to honour the veteran artiste. Incidentally, in the film Marattam, directed by the late G.Aravindan, Krishnankutty essayed Kelu, the protagonist whose appearance as Keechaka in the colourful make-up and costume of Kathakali bewitches a beautiful woman.

Vellinezhi Haridas and N.P. Ramadas

Vellinezhi Haridas and N.P. Ramadas   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The programme began with Vellinezhi Haridas and N.P. Ramadas singing Geetagovindam in the sopana tradition following which Kottakkal Madhu, Nedumpally Rammohan and Kottakkal Ranjith Warrier enraptured the audience with select Kathakali padams and compositions from Carnatic music.

In the afternoon, Krishnankutty performed cholliyattam (performance without make-up and costumes) of an excerpt from the first half of the play Kalyanasaugandhikam. The padam Parithaapikkaruthe..., addressing Dharmaputra, is more often than not confined to the kalari. Exceptionally disciplined in both angika and satwika, it testifies to the prowess of any Kathakali actor. Krishnankutty’s fluent portrayal of Krishna faithfully following structural finesse impressed the viewers. Peesappally Rajeev enacted the portion of Dharmaputra with a high degree of involvement. Kalamandalam Ramachandran Unnithan later performed an extravagant cholliyattam of the demonic character, Jarasandha, in the play, Rajasooyam.

Sadanam Krishnankutty’s cholliyattam

Sadanam Krishnankutty’s cholliyattam   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The concluding programme was Dakshayagam Kathakali. In the role of Daksha, Kalamandalam Pradeep’s performance was remarkable. As the offended father-in-law of Lord Siva, when intercepted by Nandikeswara on the way to mount Kailasa, and as the resentful Prajapathi denying his daughter Sati entry to the venue of the yaga, Pradeep displayed his histrionic deftness in no small measure.

Hari R. Nair as the unrelenting Nandikeswara was crisp in movements and expressions. As Lord Siva, Kalamandalam Shanmukhan was temperate and poised. Chambakkara Vijayan, who donned the role of Sati, soulfully presented the emotional struggles of the character who did not heed to the advice of her husband and had to bear the brunt of her father’s unmitigated anger.

Kalamandalam Ravi Kumar as Veerabhadra and R.L.V. Pramod as Bhadrakali stormed the stage with their free-style movements and mannerisms. Vocal music led by Sadanam Sivadas and percussion music by Kalamandalam Ravishankar and Prakasan enriched the first half of the play with delicate tones and the action-packed second half with a vibrant performance.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 6:08:25 PM |

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