Next Story
Theatre

When friends meet…

Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboothiri as Kuchelan, Kalamandalam Gopi as Krishna and Margi Vijayakumar as Rugmini in 'Kuchelavrutham' Kathakali. The performance was organised by Prasar Bharati (Doordarshan and Akashvani) in connection with 'Onaghosham 2015'. Photo: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboothiri as Kuchelan, Kalamandalam Gopi as Krishna and Margi Vijayakumar as Rugmini in 'Kuchelavrutham' Kathakali. The performance was organised by Prasar Bharati (Doordarshan and Akashvani) in connection with 'Onaghosham 2015'. Photo: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

more-in

Thespians and skilled musicians brought alive the meeting of Kuchela and Krishna during a performance of ‘Kuchelavrutham’ Kathakali in the capital city.



Lord Krishna and his wife Rukmini ask Kuchela, who has come for a visit, to stay for a few days when he says he plans to leave soon as his wife and children would be waiting for his return. Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboothiri saw an artistic opportunity in the scene. Taking Krishna’s hand, Nelliyodu’s Kuchela asked Krishna to come with him. Snatching the other hand of Krishna, Margi Vijayakumar’s Rukmini points out that it wouldn't be possible as she can’t leave Krishna. That delightful improvisation might have ended there, but not when there is Kalamandalam Gopi on stage (in the role of Krishna). He took it further and added a witty one-liner that if both started pulling at his hands from both sides, he would be torn apart! This delightful scene was enacted during a performance of ‘Kuchelavrutham’ in Thiruvananthapuram.

‘Kuchelavrutham’ by Muringoor Sankaran Potty tells the story of the intimate friendship between Kuchela and Krishna and the former’s devotion towards the latter. Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboothiri, Kalamandalam Gopi and Margi Vijayakumar - present favourites for the roles of Kuchela, Krishna and Rukmini respectively - came together here and there was nothing more a Kathakali rasika could possibly ask for. The three actors, utilising the chances to extend the storyline by adding their own spontaneous short narratives like the one described above, certainly enhanced the presentation. However, the same approach diluted the gist in places where it would have been better to stick to the lines in the text alone.

After Kuchela and Krishna meet, Krishna remembers the good old days at Sandipani's ashram. This is where the singers also get a chance to excel. The padams of the play, noted for its lyrical and musical qualities, were rendered beautifully by Pathiyoor Sankarankutty and Kalanilayam Rajeevan. Use of the ragas Vasantha and Ahiri in the charanams brought in some freshness to the Ragamalika padam ‘Kalayamisumathe...’ and ‘Ajithahare Jaya...’ was rendered in full, including the oft-skipped ‘Adyapi Bhavalkrupa...’ stanza.

The play concludes with the Surutti padam ‘Pushkara Vilochana...’ and Kuchela returns asking just for the boon of unfailing devotion towards Krishna. While it all ended up nicely, the final portion was not that riveting as it used to be. Members of the audience were also to be blamed for that. Instead of waiting for a few minutes more, they began rushing out as soon as Kuchela left the scene, prompting the actors on stage to wrap up the scene quickly instead of taking their time to conclude it neatly.

The efforts of Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan and Margi Ratnakaran were noteworthy as the two ably followed the actors on the chenda and the maddalam.

The performance was jointly organised by the Thiruvananthapuram stations of All India Radio and Doordarshan as part of Prasar Bharati’s ‘Onaghosham 2015’.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 22, 2018 4:12:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/a-performance-of-kuchelavrutham-kathakali-in-thiruvananthapuram/article7607707.ece