Kerala art forms
K. K. GOPALAKRISHNAN
NAMMUDE KALAKAL: K.V. Prabhakaran; Butterfly Books, Kozhikode-673001. Rs. 115.
THIS WORK, divided into three parts, contains concise notes on the performing arts of Kerala. While the first part carries a general idea on a few significant festivals, classical arts, and the relationship between folk and ritual forms, the second provides short notes on some folk forms. A very brief encyclopaedia on arts by C. Prasad constitutes the third part.
Unfortunately, the book abounds in mistakes/errors of various types, affecting its readability and reliability. For instance, ‘Ottanthullal', a semi-classical and semi-folk art form, is erroneously categorised as classical. ‘Margam kali' and ‘Oppana' are also included in the classical segment, with little distinction drawn between the performing and plastic arts. Again, the attire of ‘Kerala Natanam' is wrongly attributed to ‘Mohiniyattam'. The famous act ‘Ajagarakabalitam' to execute the ‘Vana Varnana' (describing the scenes of the forest in Koodiyattam and Kathakali) is referred to as ‘Pana Varnana' and ‘Ammugajakabalitam'. Also, the pictures are badly reproduced, while a picture of Kathakali (Kalamandalam Gopi in the role of Krishna) is given as an illustration of ‘Krishnanattam'.
Apparently, the author intended the book to be a compilation of some basic information about the art forms featuring in the school youth festival competition of Kerala targeting the students (thus notes on ‘Bharatanatyam' and ‘Yakshagana' too) but the product has turned out be misleading.
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