Theatre

Jarasandha’s last wrestling match

Kottakkal Devadas played Jarasandha in 'Rajasooyam'.  

The Mahabharatha and the Ramayana are the main source of content and context for many of our popular Kathakali plays. The Mahabharatha is a treasure trove for playwrights because of it’s variety of characters and situations.

‘Rajasooyam’ (vadakkan) is an excerpt from the Mahabharatha which narrates the events prior to and during the celebrations and rituals that follow after the Pandavas establish their might over neighbouring kings. However, what is interesting is that the main characters in the play are Jarasandha and Sisupala and not the Pandavas. Recently, the first part of this story, in which Jarasandha is killed by Bheema, was performed at Olappamanna Mana, near Vellinezhi, Palakkad.

Kottakkal Devadas’ power-packed presentation of Jarasandha was the highlight of the recital. This must be the only play in Kathakali where a ‘chuvanna thadi’ (red beard) artiste enjoys the freedom of ‘manodharma acting’.

Devadas balanced ‘natyadharmi’ and ‘lokadharmi’ acting during his portrayal of the king. The spark of brilliance, visible right from the first manodharma attam when Jarasandha narrates his growth as a mighty ruler, was maintained all through the play. Vellinezhi Haridas, Kalanilayam Madhumohan,and Kalamandalam Harinarayanan (who enacted Lord Krishna, Bheema and Arjuna disguised as Brahmins) did a good job.

Percussion players Kottakkal Prasad, Kottakkal Vijayaraghavan, both on the chenda, and Kalamandalam Venu and Cherpulassery Hariharan on the maddalam were in sync with the artistes on stage. Nedumpally Rammohan and Sreerag Varma were the singers. The play was staged as part of a monthly programme organised by Purogamana Kala Sahithya Samgham.


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 2:04:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/jarasandhas-last-wrestling-match/article6566907.ece

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