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Kathakali

Kathakali, the classical dance-drama of Kerala, is based on mythological themes. Mythical characters like the Devas, Asuras (the residents of heaven and earth representing good and evil, respectively), apart from some bird and animal characters can be represented only in larger than life, superhuman dimensions. In Kathakali, the make-up creates the superhuman effect.

Kathakali the classical art form of Kerala is a spectacular blend of dance, drama, mime and song and is over 300 year old. Presented in the temple precincts after dusk falls, a Kathakali performance is heralded by the Kelikottu or the beating of drums to the accompaniment of the Chengila (gong).

One of the most exotic of the India's performing arts, Kathakali demands years of rigorous training and lays great emphasis on complex body movements and facial expressions. Therefore oil massages and a separate folio of exercises for the eyes, lips, cheeks, neck and the body form an integral part of the training, aiming at making the body supple.

In addition to postures, movements and facial expressions the Kathakali artiste narrates his story through hand gestures or mudras. There are twenty four basic mudras in Kathakali, some of them having upto thirty or forty interpretations. Until the beginning of this century, Kathakali aspirants stayed with the guru or teacher to undergo a twelve-year intensive training. Today, with the advent of formal training centres, the Gurukula system has virtually disappeared. The Kerala Kalamandalam is the most renowned centre for Kathakali training besides others likeMargi.

It takes nearly three to four hours to complete the make-up which is done in stages, and the duration varies according to the character and complexity of the costume.

Theppu is the first stage where the artiste himself applies the basic facial paintings. On this the Chuttikkaran (make-up man) puts the Chutti which forms the second stage of make-up.

The Chutti plays a crucial role in differentiating the characters and their personality and has the following basic classification:- Pacha (green), Kathi (knife), Thadi (beard) and Kari (black). To know more about each, see Chuvanna thadi in Kathakali .

All the colours used in the make-up are obtained from natural substances and herbs. For example, the red and yellow colours are made by powdering stones like Chaayilyam and Manayola respectively. A mixture of lime and rice flour serves for white. The green colour is produced by mixing Manayola and Neelam (blue). Coconut oil is used as the base for mixing these stone powders. Another stone, Chenchilyam is powdered and applied in order to protect the skin from burns. Kanmashi or Kajal (the black substance) is prepared by burning gingelly oil. Kumkumam or saffron is also used for the make-up. However, now-a-days many of these colour mixing processes have been replaced by easily available material like paper pulp etc.

Uduthukettu is the thrid stage in dressing. Stiff tapes of white cloth is wound around the waist, with the help of others and are bound together with another piece of cloth, the Kacha. Ulluvaal, Puramvaal, Pattuvaal etc are the different cloth pieces used for the elaborate bulky skirt of a Kathakali artiste. The anklets, colourful and ornate vests, jewellery and the huge headgear complete the Kathakali costume

Untitled Document Other Arts of Kerala |
Arjuna nritham ,danceArjunanritham :Dance of Arjuna :Arjuna is said to have propitiated goddess Bhadrakaali by a devotional presentation Ayyappan Theeyattu Ayyappan Theeyattu :Ayyappan theeyattu performed at Sree Ayyappa temples is one of the two classifications of the religious ritual art called Theeyattu .
Chakyarkoothu : A fine blend of social satire, mime and comedy, the Chakyarkoothu is usually presented in the traditional temple theatre Koothambalam Chuvannathadi in KathakaliChuvannathadi in Kathakali :The vesham symbolically represents five classes, Pacha (green) portrays noble protagonists, Kathi (knife) villainous, thadi (beard), Kari (black) represents low characters and Minukku (prettying up) women, sages, brahmins
KoodiyattomKoodiyattom : A Nangiyar women plays cymbal and occasionally recites the verses. The musical element is very much suppressed in Koodiyattom Kathi ThayambakaKathi Thayambaka : It is a pleasure to watch the revered old man weave magic with his hands moving in perfect synchronisation
Kummattikali : mask dance usually performed in the northern districts of Kerala Kalamezhuthupattu Kalamezhuthupattu : The coloured powders used for the kalam are prepared from natural products only.
KathakaliKathakali : Kathakali the classical art form of Kerala is a spectacular blend of dance, drama, mime and song and is over 300 year old Kathakali Training :They also have to undergo training in dance steps, body movements, and the mudras or the art of conveying ideas and meanings through hand gestures.
MohiniyattomMohiniyattom : The origin of Mohiniyattom is rooted in Hindu mythology. Legends says that when the ocean of milk was churned to extract the elixir of life and immortality, the demons made away with the divine brew Ottanthullal : A satirist, he is the man who brought literary wit and humour within the ken of common man
Pavakali : Pavakkathakali was so simple a version of the Kathakali that it was welcomed by the illiterate, rural people for whom 'Kathakali' was inaccessible owing to its complexity. ParichamuttukaliParichamuttukali : Parichamuttukali is a group dance performed by men bearing swords and shields and follows the movements and steps of Kalarippayattu.
ParamparyaParamparya : Paramparya is a curtain raiser to the treasure trove of the arts and crafts tradition of India. The second annual exhibition was held on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake Parumthattom : The leading musicial instrument accompanying the art form is called Parayan Chenda - a percussion instrument.
PatayaniPatayani : Kadammanitta, Kadalimangalam, Neelamperur and Othara in Pathanamthitta are famous for annual Patayani performances. ThiruvathirakaliThiruvathirakali :Today, Thiruvathirakali has become a popular dance form for all seasons.
YakshaganamYakshaganam :Yakshagana performers wear huge headgears, elaborate facial make-up, colourful costumes and ornaments which together give a superhuman appearance to the character presented.  
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