Trial by fire

(from left) Margi Rama Chakyar (Narada), Margi Sajeev Narayana Chakyar (Rama) and Margi Madhu Chakyar (Lakshmana). Photo: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

(from left) Margi Rama Chakyar (Narada), Margi Sajeev Narayana Chakyar (Rama) and Margi Madhu Chakyar (Lakshmana). Photo: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

‘Agnipravesankam’, the seventh act of Shakthibhadra's ‘Ascharyachoodamani’, is not staged frequently. Margi recently presented the entire act in two days with the support of Hebrew University, Jerusalem and the University of Tubingen, Germany.

The act is indeed full of dramatic situations, thus enabling the actors to display their potential.

After the death of Ravana, Sita appears before Rama in all her regal splendour. To convince Sree Rama, Sita decides to prove her chastity by the ordeal of ‘purification by fire’.

The crux of the act was presented on the second day of the two-day performance. Here, Lakshmana comes back wonderstruck and narrates to Rama the miraculous act of Sita proving her chastity.

'Ascharya Lakshmana', as the character is named in this segment, was safe in the hands of Margi Madhu Chakyar who made it delightful with his distinctive approach in abhinaya.

It was not just about 'ascharya', but the pakarnattam sequences, in which he portrayed how Sita went through the test by fire and emerged unscathed, which had the mark of a confident actor.

The focus then shifts to Rama, and Margi Sajeev Narayana Chakyar was seen at his best. The actor also did well in the earlier portions where he had to complement Madhu.

Margi Rama Chakyar came in the role of Narada, who brings the attention of the brothers to the gods and the ancestors who had assembled there by the power of the chastity of Sita.

Again, the scene has the potential to explore in detail the emotional depths of Rama and Lakshmana and this time the actors together made it captivating.

The act comes to a happy ending as Rama and Sita, accompanied by Lakshmana and all others, begin their journey back to Ayodhya.

Margi Sathi, Margi Sindhu and Margi Akhil were the other actors who performed in the act. They were supported by Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan Nambiar, Kalamandalam Manikantan, Margi Saji, Margi Mahesh (mizhavu), Margi Mohanan (thimila) and Margi Krishnakumar (edakka).

Margi Usha, Sindhu, Amritha and Visishta were on the talam.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 6:14:37 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/trial-by-fire/article6808210.ece