Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Kathakali effect

For quite some time I had the wish to watch live Kathakali. I wasn’t sure , if I would be able to enjoy that or not as I had no idea about it at all. All I seen them in films and ads. Really felt bad. I had the opportunity to watch one in cochin, promoted by a group of kathakali lovers , six of them. I wonder do they really formed the art group for the sake of it or for something else, ok leave it.

 I had the desire and time to watch one so I decided to go for it. I went in took the ticket for 400 rupees and they told me the show will begin by 5 30 in the evening, I did some bird watching and came back by 6 pm. the stage was all set but not for performance but for the make up and as audience a bunch of foreigners. I felt so strange and happy too that I am not the only illiterate in this art.

 Thy have lighted up a vilakku with incandescent lamp and did the face make up and people were all around to see how they do and what color and materials they use for make up and what make up goes for what kind of character.  People awed to know that its all organic. I felt too boring and was thinking what will the story will be and how will I know who is who in makeup.


The makeup got over in an hour and they lighted the vilakku to create the feel and mood for the katha. One guy came up and announced that the story is of “Dussasana Vadam”  and that for the people to understand the form better they will be demonstrating the “RASA” as in face expressions, some movements as in the “PADAs” and a small workshop to demonstrate what movement meant what , that we should also perform on stage.

While they setup the stage they gave us the story in a sheet of paper. it was about dussasana vadam, how he trochered panchali, her appeal to Krishna and eventually how bhima kills dussasana.

Oh even I don’t rem the story clearly even today.

The interaction part was really good and I enjoyed most of it some of them got to scream like bhima and fight with the wooden gadha.

 The guy dressed up in panchali came over and showed the rasa, no one looked at the ranam everyone clicked so do I. then he told about the actions and mudras that they will be using in this part and some dailoges which every one participated. Like how to scream, how to call and ask to sit here and how to tell to leave and how to fight with the “GADHA” and how to show blood on stage etc etc…

 I really don’t know what happened , I liked the screaming part as I knew they were doing that, for what reason . all the other parts I was just awful. How appalling could that be, being a mallu and don’t understand a line of the songs. Anyways I did had the courage to stay there till the end when bhim had the fight and finally took the small intestine out. 

I was eight when it got over and first thing I did was to drink water. 

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