Against all odds

Kathakali artistes are honoured to promote the art form.

Kathakali artistes are honoured to promote the art form.  

TRICHUR KATHAKALI Club, one of the oldest Kathakali clubs, celebrated its 40th anniversary recently. The club, which was founded in 1965 to promote the art form, is the only one in Kerala that has been conducting regular monthly programmes for the last four decades.

The Club honours Katakali artistes by giving away awards in various fields. Guru Gopinath was the first person to receive the Dr. K.N. Pisharadi Award, instituted in memory of Dr. Pisharadi, the founder president of the club. Thirty-nine artistes belonging to various fields in Kathakali have been honoured by the Club.

This year's award went to Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharadi for his outstanding contribution to the art form during the last four decades. Pisharadi, who had won this year's Sangeeth Natak Akademi Award for Kathakali, is on a comeback trail after he recovered from his knee injury. Thirippaya Peethambaran, a bank employee, received the CMC Namboothiripad Memorial Suvarna Mudra, which was instituted to promote young artistes. K. Balakrishnan, president of the club, presented the awards at a function held at Sri Paramekkavu Devaswom Agrassala.

After the award presentation, a double `Melapadam' was held before the much-awaited full night Kathakali performance.

`Nalacharitham Nalaam Divasam' was the first performance. The evergreen combination of Kalamandalam Gopi and Kottakkal Sivaraman portrayed the lead roles of Bahuka and Damayanthi. Mathoor Murali Krishnan, a budding artiste, performed the role of Kesini in style. Gopi, in his typical manner, expressed the sorrows and pains of Bahuka well. Sivaraman once again underlined the fact that there could be no other `Damayanthi' to match `Nala.' The music department too came good to make the performance noteworthy. Kalamandalam Hyderali and Harish Namboothiri ably rendered the lyrics to suit the emotional content. Vasu Pisharadi performed the role of `Ravana' in `Thoranayudham.' Perfection of mudras and acting, which are the characteristics of his style, captured the audience's attention. V. P. Ramakrishnan Nair portrayed the role of `Hanuman.' Veteran percussionist Kalamandalam Narayanan Nambisan was the head of the percussion department. Varanasi Madhavan Namboothiri, Bala Sundaran and Raj Narayanan played the chenda and the madhalam.


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