An appreciation course helped rasikas understand the nuances of Kathakali.
ERNAKULAM KATHAKALI Club in association with the Centre for Studies in Culture and Heritage of Cochin Corporation recently organised a week-long Kathakali appreciation course to enlighten rasikas on the finer aspects of Kathakali.
"There was a positive response from fans of Kathakali and more than 50 people attended the classes," said A.D. Krishnan Asan, president of the club. In fact, this is the third time that the club has organised a Kathakali appreciation course. "The classes definitely enable the participants to enjoy Kathakali and a majority of the participants were those who regularly attend Kathakali programmes," he added.
A wide range of topics such as the brief history of Kathakali, features of acting, mudras (hand gestures), costumes, techniques in acting and patterns in dancing were included in the course. There were demonstrations of cholliyattom and elakiyattom of important scenes from popular plays. The cholliyattom sessions equipped the participants to understand the nuances of communication in Kathakali. Kalaasams including ashtakalaasam were also demonstrated.
C.P. Unnikrishnan was the director of the course and led the classes. His demonstrations on mudras were excellent. Kalamandalam Kesavan explained every movement of the sequence demonstrated and enlightened the participants by sharing his immense knowledge and experience with the participants. "Kathakali is a blend of six art forms and to enjoy it thoroughly one has to know all the aspects. Appreciation courses enlighten the participants on some of the aspects of the art. It helps to attract more people to Kathakali. The participants of this course were very enthusiastic," Unnikrishnan said.
"I have been regularly attending Kathakali programmes for the past so many years. By attending this course, I could gather a lot of information about the various aspects of this unique art form," Ramachandra Menon, one of the participants, said.
Talented artistes like Kalamandalam Sreekumar, Kalamandalam Haridas, Thripunithura Unnikrishnan and Kalamandalam E. Vasudevan Nair led the classes. Kalamandalam Gopalakrishnan provided the vocals while Kalavedi Murali and Thiruviluamala Venkiteswaran handled the chenda and the madhalam respectively. Marking the finale of the course, there was a performance of `Dhakshayagom' in which virtuoso performers such as Kalamandalam Balasubramanian, Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri, Kalamandalam Sreekumar and Kalamandlam Rajasekhran participated.
Kalamandalam Balasubramnian in the role of Dhakshan and Kalamandalam Sreekumar in the role of Siva performed well. Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri's role of Veerbhadran was outstanding. The performance of other artistes like Kalamandalam Rajasekharan (as Rathi), C.R. Ratheesh (as Vedavally), Elamakkara Ranjith (Bhadhrakali), C.R. Ranjith (as Devendran), Thripunithura Unnikrishnan (as Nandi) and FACT Biju Bhasker (Brahmin) were also commendable. Kalamandalam Goplakrishnan and Kalamandalam Babu Namboodiri were on the vocals and Kalamandal Vasudevan Namboodiri supported them. Kalamandalam Kesavan and Kalavedi Murali on the chenda and Thiruvilluamala Venkiteswaran and Angadipuram Hari on the madhalam were the percussionists.
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