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Travails of Duryodhana

T.K. SADASIVAN

Kathakali Sadanam Krishnankutty excelled in the lead role in ‘Duryodhanavadham.’



An epic tale: A scene from ‘Duryodhanavadhom.’

‘Duryodhanavadham,’ the only attakatha written by Aryan Narayanan Moose (1842-1902), is a masterpiece among Kathakali plays. Evocative lyrics and brilliant theatrical treatment make the play outstanding.

Dramatic sequences

Packed with many dramatic sequences, ‘Duryodhanavadham’ has much to keep viewers glued to their seats. An interesting feature of this play is that it showcases many of the different costumes and kinds of make-up that are characteristic of certain characters in Kathakali. Thus from subtle and refined characters such as ‘Minukku’ to spectacular ones such as ‘Roudhrabheeman,’ the spectators get the opportunity to see a variety of costumes and characters.

The play was recently staged at Ernakulathappan Hall, Kochi. It was organised by the Ernakulam Kathakali Club and the Sivakshethra Kshema Samiti. Excellent acting and enchanting music made the performance a remarkable one.

The play narrates the story of the rise and fall of Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kaurava brothers. The play depicts Duryodhana’s nefarious plot to cheat the Pandavas of their inheritance, his brother Dussasana’s attempt to humiliate Draupadi and the eventual downfall of the Kauravas.

Accomplished actors

Accomplished actor Sadanam Krishnankutty excelled in the role of Duryodhana. He delighted the audience with his eloquent facial expressions, expressive gestures and perfect Kalaasams. Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri enacted Dussasan with his customary elegance and virtuosity. R.L.V. Radhakrishnan’s Panchali touched the hearts of the viewers as he skilfully portrayed the agony and distress of Panchali. Kalamandalam Sreekumar’s Roudrabheeman was also striking and he skilfully portrayed Bheema’s fury towards Dussasana. Kalamandalam Shanmugadas (Sreekrishna), R.L.V. Sunil, (Dharamaputhra), R.L.V. Pramod (Bheeman) and Sadanam Mohanan (Sakuni) were the other actors.

Palanaad Diwakaran and Sadanam Sivadasan melodiously rendered padams such as ‘Pari Pahimam Hare’ and ‘Jnathi Valasala….’

Percussionists Kurur Vasudevan Namboodiri and Kalamandalam Asokan accompanied on the chenda and Angadipuram Hari and Kalamandalam Sreekumar on the maddhalam. Make-up was by Cherthala Viswanathan Nair.

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