Introduction to Kathakali
Kathakali is one of the best and famous art form of Kerala. It is a highly styled Indian dance-drama evolved from other performing arts like Kootiyattam,Krishnanattam and Kalarippayattu. Kerala owes its traditional fame to this nearly 300 years old classical dance, which is noted for its attractive make-up of characters, their elaborate customs,detailed gestures and well defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion. Kathakali presented in the temples after dusk falls is followed by kelikottu or the beating of drums in accomplishment of chengila(gong).
Origin of Kathakali
Kathakali is originated from the traditional dance-drama art form called Ramanattam and Krishnanattam which is related to the stories of Hindu mythology.
Kottarakkara Thampuran,The king of Kottarakkara( a place in south Kerala) was considered as the father of Kathakali. Kathakali also incorporates several other elements from ritualistic art forms like Mudiyettu, Theyyam, Padayani etc. It also seem to have some connection with the martial art of Kalarippayattu with its body language.
Make up for Kathakali is an interesting factor in this contest. Its costume is again elaborated by face painted up. In kathakali make-up is having great importance. According to make-up,the Veshams of kathakali is classified into 5. They are:
Pacha(Green): Pacha vesham portray noble protagonists.
Kathi(Knife): Kathi vesham denotes villain characters.
Thadi(Beard): Thadi veshams are of 3 types. 'Vella Thadi' or white beard for superhuman monkeys like hanuman, 'Chuvanna Thadi' or Red beard for evil charecters, 'Karutha Thadi' or black beard is for hunters .
Kari(black): Kari is used for she-demons.
Minukku(Prettying up): This makeup is for lady charecters and sages.
Elements of Fine Arts in Kathakali
Expression: This include variety of facial expressions for different feelings and situations.
Dance: It include the rythmic movement of hands, legs and body.
Enactment: It include the Mudras which is a stylized sign language used to depict an idea, a situation or a state of being. A Kathakali artist convey his ideas through Mudras. For this he follows a systematic sign language based on Hasthalakshana Deepika, a guide on the language of hand gestures.
Song or Geetha: It is the song sung in the background of Kathakali. The language used is Malayalam.
Instruments or Vadya: They are the orchestra formed of two varieties of drums- the maddalam and chenda. Chengila, a bell metal gong is also used.
Students of Kathakali have to undergo vigorous training with oil massages and seperate exercises for eyes, lips, cheeks, mouth and neck. All the three categories, Abhinaya(expression), nritya(dance) and geetham(song) have equal importance. Together with higly evocative facial expression, mudras, nritya and geetha, It tells the stories of bygone era.
Kerala Kalamandalam is one of the famous centre for learning Indian performing arts which include the Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Kuchippudi, Thullal, Bharathanatyam etc. Vallathol Narayana Menon was the founder of this institution. Here, there are many experienced experts for teaching Kathakali. Kerala kalamandalam is locted in a place known as Cheruthuruthy in Thrissur district of Kerala. Those who are interested in seeing and learning can approach Kerala kalamandalam.
Nearest Airport : Cochin Airport
Nearest Railway : Thrissur Railway Station
Road Way : Cheruthuruthy, Thrissur
Phone: 91+ 4884 262418