Arts And Entertainment
Kerala, with its rich background of art and culture, has its own art forms which symbolises the outlook and life of Keralites. From the famous Kathakali, which is considered as the complete art form as it synthesis all that is best in the fields of drama, music and dance to the fascinating folk dances, which are the rhythmic impulses of a sensitive egalitarian society, Kerala’s arts are unique! The Yogi Bharatha wrote the famous Natya Shastra, the Science of Dance, in which he postulated that Musicology consists of the Eternal Triad of Drama, Dance and Music ( Geetham Natyam Thadha Nritham Trayam Sangeetham Uchyathe )!
Kathakali The Dance Drama of Kerala
Acting, dancing and Music these three arts constitute this dance drama. It is pantomime in which actors do not sing nor do they speak but interpret their emotions through highly sensitive medium of appropriate gestures, picturesque hand poses and vivid facial expressions, which is intelligible even to the layman ! Both dramatic and a dance art, Kathakali with predominance of histrionics, is considered as a complete art. It belongs to the imaginative form of Art and not the realistic, which is highlighted by Bharatha in his famous treatise !
This Master Art is Kerala’s very own, drawing its themes from the vast wealth of India’s Mythology and folklore. Ramanattom was created as a sort of rival to Krishnanattom and Kathakali evolved from Ramanattom into a complete art. It strictly follows the fundamentals and axioms laid down by Bharata, who was considered to be the father of Indian Classical Dances.
A high degree of control over body and muscle movements and facial expressions is called for, from the actor’s perspective. The performer is helped by vocal and percussion accompaniments and the theme is expounded by him through hand gestures known as Hasta Mudras , which are 25 in number. The best way to appreciate a Kathakali performance is to get the story explained to you in advance. This amazing evocative art has evolved into a package that weaves a tantalising spell today, combining chant, drama, dance, makeup, dress and gesture!
Prior to the genesis of this magnificent Art, there existed in Kerala different types of dance, drama and dance dramas. Arts like Chakyarkoothu, Koodiyattam and different dances associated with the cult of the Mother Goddess, such as Moodiyattu, Thiyyattom and Theyyattom, the socio religious and material dances like the Sastrakali and Ezhamattukali and the latterly evolved dance dramas like Krishnanattom and Ramanattom, were flourishing in Kerala prior to the advent of this Divine Art. You will find that characteristic features of these dances and dramas had been incorporated and assimilated by this Master Art
Magnificent archaic costumes, grand head gears and enchanting make ups characterise this majestic Dance Drama. It is perhaps the only dance form in India in which the masculine aspect of the dance is preserved in its pristine vigour.
All feelings are idealised and facially expressed with intense vividness and you will find that this compensates for the absence of the spoken word. All such facial expressions will harmonise and synchronise with the rhythm of the Dance and the musical melody.
Music is a very important ingredient and the Orchestra is composed of two vocal musicians, one keeping time with a resounding gong known as Chengala and the other with a pair of clanking cymbals known as Elethalam, a Chenda player and a Maddala player. Chenda is a cylindrical drum with a beautifully sweet sound while the Maddala appears as a big Mridanga.
All the characters of Kathakali are mythological and have different modes of makeup.
Adornment and attire are reduced to 5 types. They are
1) Pacha ( Green ) representing Noble and virtuous characters
2) Kathi ( Knife ) Unrighteous characters
3) Thadi ( Beard ) Demoniac characters
The most distinguished amongst the Thullal arts, Ottam Thullal was ingeniously devised by a master artist, Kunjan Nambiar. It is written that he was humiliated by a Chakyar, as Nambiar dozed off during a performance. In order to take revenge on his humiliation he wrote a poem depicting an episode from the epic Mahabharata in a never to fore metric and pattern rhythmic. A special kind of dance for its exposition was formulated. By innovative methods, humor and the enjoyableness of the programme, he attracted all audiences that had surrounded Chakyar. A new art was born and this was christened as “Ottam Thullal “.
The costumes and crown are copied from Kathakali, with variations. It is a solo dance with the artiste singing verses to the accompaniment of Mridanga with a refrain repeater singing behind. Duration of the programme is a couple of hours.
This is the oldest amongst the classical theatre arts and the solo dance is usually presented in Temples, to the accompaniment of Elathalam and Mizhavu. Beginning with an Invocation the Deity of the Temple, its narration is enlivened by the Thandava dance movements, facial expression and gestures according to the principles of Natya Shastra. Humour is abound in plentitude in this art and its themes are taken from India’s Epic Poetry ( Ramayana and Mahabharatha ).
Miss Dhanya of Zodiac Computers in Mohiniyattyam attire
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Larry. Thank you for taking the new article directory technology and making it work to the max. I encourage everyone to keep contributing and contributing regularly. I can attest to the fact that this site is already a strong directory in a field of many. Kudos to Larry!