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Mapila art forms get a boost

A two-day fete of Mapila art forms evoked an enthusiastic response from fans.



The colourful Oppana has become a staple of youth festivals.

A TWO-day Mapila Kalotsavam in Kondotty, seems to have highlighted the need to give a wider platform for the Mapila arts of Kerala. The festival was organised by Kerala Sangeet Nataka Akademi in association with South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjavur, and Moyinkutty Vaidyar Memorial Committee.

"Let this be a beginning," said C.L. Jose, Chairman of the Akademi.

After watching the programme and the enthusiastic response it evoked, Mr. Jose said: "These rich art forms should not be confined to Kerala. We must take them outside the State for others to appreciate and enjoy it."

The people of Kondotty once again proved that their passion for Mapilappattu was insatiable since it was just three weeks ago that the Vaidyar Mahotsavam was held at the same venue. The Akademi show presented the Mapila arts concisely. The emphasis was on old songs.

Unforgettable melodies

The first evening, titled `Mailanjithoppu,' took the audience back to the golden days of Malayalam cinema enriched by musical geniuses like Baburaj and others. Some of the unforgettable melodies such as `Kayalarikathu Valayerinjappol,' `Kanmani Neeyen,' `Othupallilannu Nammal,' `Nalikerathinte Naatilenikkoru,' `Koottinnilamkili,' `Pullimanalla Mailalla,' and `Oru kotta ponnundallo' were rendered by K.V. Abootty, Isabella, Noorah, Sobha, Prakasan Mannur and Raniya.

On the second day, the beautiful voices of Faseela Mohammedali (formerly Vilayil Valsala) and Moosa Eranjoli gave the crowds a rare chance to enjoy Mapilapattu in its purest form. Moosa sang melodies such as `Zamaanin koorirul kaattil,' `Maanikya malaraya hoori' (praising Prophet Mohammed's wife Beebi Khadeeja), and `Manassinte yullil.' Faseela sang `Khallakhayullone,' `Oyye enikken' (with Usman), and `Manassakamil mohabbath'. While senior artiste Pallikkal Moideen rendered an old song, `Thoorisinamala thazhvarayil,' youngsters such as Sushama Chalil, Sobhana and Shafi Kondotty rendered a wide range of songs. Shafi sang `Nenjinullil neeyaanu,' the biggest Mapila hit in recent memory.

Popular qawwalis

Four qawwalis rendered by Usman and Abooty had the crowd swaying to its beat. The organisers made use of the occasion to educate the crowds about the origin of qawwali. The word `qowl' (meaning `saying' or `word' in Persian and Arabic) is widely used by the Muslims of Malabar. But many of them are not aware that qawwali came from the Persian word `qowl.'

An Oppana staged by Laila and party fell flat. But it re-introduced the audience to the long-lost `mailanchi' (henna) dance of Muslim weddings.

The Kolkali performance of Kunhikoya Gurukkal and party got the loudest applause of the evening. The agile and precise movements of the Kolkali team impressed the audience.

Abdul Latheef Naha

Photo: S. Gopakumar

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