Theatre

Two marriages and the aftermath

Scene from 'Sitaswayamvaram.'   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The annual festival of Puthanalkkal temple at Cherpulassery, near Palakkad, was enriched with two evenings of Kathakali performed by young artistes. Select scenes from Kottarakkara Thampuran's ‘Sitaswayamvaram' and Irayimman Thampi's ‘Dakshayagam' were the highlights of the programme.

‘Sithaswayamvaram' narrates the events leading to Sita's marriage to Lord Rama, and its immediate aftermath. Nowadays, only certain scenes from the play are usually staged; one of the popular episodes deals with Parasurama's angst when Rama breaks the Thrayambakam, Lord Siva's divine bow, to win Sita's hand. The role of Parasurama is considered a tough act to enact as it demands both physical and technical finesse.

Performance manuals

Vazhenkada Kunju Nair and Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair had developed performance manuals for the enactment of Parasurama's role. Kunju Nair's portrayal began with Parasurama doing penance in the Mahendra Hills and rushing down to confront Rama when he breaks the bow. Ramankutty Nair avoided the entire sequence of the penance.

For the recital here, Sadanam Bhasi followed the latter's style.

In an interesting departure from the usual, one more scene was added to the recital. The play began with Rama and Lakshmana arriving at King Janaka's court in the company of Viswamithra. The duo's request to see Thrayambakam is granted. But when Rama takes the bow, it breaks into two. In accordance with Janaka's declaration that he would give his daughter's hand in marriage to the person who would string the bow, he marries off Sita to Rama.

In the meantime, Parasurama, Siva's devotee, is irked that a mere mortal could break his Lord's bow and so he confronts Rama while he is on his way to Ayodhya with his bride.

Sadanam Bhasi's Parasurama and Kalamandalam Harinarayanan's Sreerama were both brilliantly enacted.

Vocalists Nedumpalli Rammohan and Sadanam Jyotish Babu maintained the musical standards of the play.

Irayimman Thampi's ‘Dakshayagam' was the attraction on the second day. Kalamandalam Soman played the lead role of Daksha.

Anguish and anger

His acting conveyed the emotions of an anguished and angry father whose cherished daughter, Sathi, goes against his wishes and marries Lord Siva. Peesappilly Rajeevan and Haripriya Nambudiri acted as Siva and Sati, respectively. Kalamandalam Hari R. Nair did a good job as Veerabhadra.

Kottakkal Santhosh, the lead vocalist, was accompanied by Jyothishbabu.

Sadanam Ramakrishnan and Kalamandalam Ravisanker were on the chenda. Kalamandalam Venu and Cherpulassery Hariharan were the maddalam artistes.


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 3:43:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/Two-marriages-and-the-aftermath/article15448182.ece

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