Reminiscing 40 years of ‘Mimics Parade’

The troupe elevated mimicry as a popular art form in Kerala and abroad

September 21, 2021 08:21 pm | Updated September 22, 2021 09:41 am IST - Kochi

(From left) Kalabhavan Ansar, film-maker Siddique, artistes K.S. Prasad, Varkichan Petta, actor-director Lal and Kalabhavan Rahman, the initial members of the Mimics Parade troupe of Cochin Kalabhavan, which marked its 40th anniversary on Tuesday.

(From left) Kalabhavan Ansar, film-maker Siddique, artistes K.S. Prasad, Varkichan Petta, actor-director Lal and Kalabhavan Rahman, the initial members of the Mimics Parade troupe of Cochin Kalabhavan, which marked its 40th anniversary on Tuesday.

The image of a six-member team clad in jubba and performing mimicry in front of a packed audience at the Kerala Fine Arts Hall auditorium in Kochi on September 21, 1981 remains fresh in the memory of actor-director K.S. Prasad.

A thunderous applause erupted at the end of the show as they ignited a laugh riot among the audience and went on to make their ‘Mimics Parade’ troupe a household name in the State and abroad. “It was Fr. Abel, founder of Cochin Kalabhavan, who was instrumental in launching such a professional group of mimicry artistes,” said Mr. Prasad on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the popular troupe here on Tuesday.

Besides him, the initial members of the troupe included actor-director Lal, film-maker Siddique, artistes Kalabhavan Ansar, Kalabhavan Rahman, and Varkichan Petta. “Over the years, the troupe provided a space for numerous talents, who played a key role in popularising mimicry in society,” he said.

Mr. Siddique, who named the troupe ‘Mimics Parade’, recalled that they had considered various names like ‘Mimics Nite’, ‘Mimics Eve’ and a title by including the first letters of their names. “I echoed the view that the name should have an everlasting identity and one capable of catching the attention of the audience,” he said.

Stating that the troupe was successful in elevating mimicry as a popular art form, Mr. Siddique said that several artistes were hesitant to introduce themselves as mimicry artistes as it had not gained acceptance unlike other art forms like Kathakali or Mohiniyattom.

“We had no such inhibitions in being called as mimicry artistes and were proud of our talent. Mimics Parade troupe dispelled such notions. It had also opened up the doors of Malayalam film industry before mimicry artistes indicating the public acceptance of the art form,” he said. The 40th anniversary of the troupe was observed without much fanfare as the founding members reminisced their journey together.

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