Depiction of love and hatred
The Kathakali festival of the Ernakulam Kathakali Club featured experienced and new artistes.
Kathakali veterans brought to life characters from the epics.
THE ANNUAL Kathakali festival of the Ernakulam Kathakali Club has over the years become one of the few cultural events that Kathakali fans in the State look forward to. This year's festival, held recently at Ernakulathappan Hall, showcased seven plays of love and hatred.
The two nights of Kathakali featured experienced and new artistes. The prestigious `Kalahamsam Puraskaram,' instituted by the Ernakulam Kathakali Club, was awarded to the Kathakali artiste Inchakad Ramachandran Pillai. The `Thouryathreeka Puraskaram' was awarded to the chenda artiste Kalamandalam Raman Namboodiri.
`Poothanamoksham,' one of the popular and simplest stories of Kathakali, was the opening play of the festival. Kottakal Sivaraman, in one of his remarkable performances in the role of `Poothana,' skilfully portrayed the feelings of mother's love and the demon's wickedness. He successfully brought out the conflict that the character undergoes in the course of her mission. Some of the `padams' were rendered melodiously by Kalamandalam Hyderali and Babu Namboothiri.
The next play was `Balivijayam', featuring Kottakal Chandrasekhran as Ravanan, FACT Padmanabhan as Narada and Elamakkara Ranjith as Bali. As the play progressed, it descended into mediocrity and the portrayal of Sage Narada became comical. The highlight of the performance was the vocals by Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan and Kalamandalam Gopalakrishnan.
The third play of the night was `Nalacharitham Second day.' The controlled performance of C.R. Ratheesh in the role of Damayanti was in contrast to that of Kalamandalam Ramakrishnan, who was in the `karuttha thaadi' role of `Kattalan.' Ramakrishnan tried too hard to portray the Kattalan. Kalamandalam Hyderali's attempt to innovate did not go down well with the audience.
The last play of the first day was `Narakasuravadhom' and the performance was remarkable. Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri in the role of `Nakrathundi' was exceptional as always. Sadanam Krishnankutty excelled in the role of `Narakasuran,' especially during `elakiyattom.' Kalamandalam Rajasekhran and C.R. Ranjith in the roles of Lalitha and Narakasuran's wife were also excellent. The vocals by Palanad Divakaran and Babu Namboodiri were commendable.
On the second day of the annual festival, the club presented three plays. `Nalacharitham Fourth Day' up to the reunion was the first to unfold. The portrayal of Nala by Kalamandalam Balasubramanian, Damayanti by Margi Vijayakumar, and Kesini by Kalamandalam Shanmughan were outstanding. During `elakiyattom,' Balasubramanian proved his mastery over the art form. Margi Vijayakumar also excelled. Vocals by Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan and Babu Namboodiri were enchanting. Kurur Vasudevan Namboodiri and Krishnadas on chenda and Nelluvay Narayanan Nair on the maddalam provided good support.
The next play was `Kalyanasaugandhikam' featuring this year's Kalahamsam prize-winner Inchakad Ramachandran Pillai in the role of Bheema and Madavur Vasudevan Nair as Hanuman. The performance was dominated by the `thekkan chitta' (southern style). C.R. Ratheesh, in the role of Panchali, was exceptional. In `elakiyattom,' both Inchakad Ramachandran Pillai and Madavur Vasudevan Nair improvised very well.
The last play of the festival was `Duryodhanavadhom.' The play, which featured Kalamandalam Sreekumar, Kalamandalam E. Vasudevan, Kalamandalam Sreekandan Nair, R.L.V. Radhakrishnan, R.L.V. Damodara Pishrody, Nambeesankutty, FACT Biju Bhasker and Thripunithura Unnikrishnan, was a disappointing one.
The festival saw some remarkable performances from seasoned actors such as Kottakal Sivaraman, Sadanam Krishnankutty, Kalamandalam Balasubramanian, Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri and Margi Vijayakumar.
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