Kathakali Kutiyattam and Other Performing Arts: Fifty Years of Theatrical Exploration

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Item Code: NAD063
Author: G.Venu
Publisher: Natana Kairali, Kerala
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 9789380658681
Pages: 229 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 Inch X 5.5 Inch
Weight 370 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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100% Made in India
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23 years in business
Book Description
About the Author

The multififarious activities of Natana Kairali are Precious assets for the perenniality and better Understanding. In India and abroad, of Kutiyattam,Nangiar koothu, kathakali and Mohiniyattam Great traditions – in their living aspects, on stage well a in their scholarly aspects. Thanks to Workshop, seminars, and the publication of Studies and invaluable texts. The teaching under Supervision of Sri. Ammannur Madhava Chakyar.enable young Kutiyattam. Nangiar Koothu and Mohiniyattam performers to adhere strictly to the esasence of the art, and to gain a true insight into its meaning and expressions.

This is not just another formal civility, for one of the most lively and beautiful testimonies of the quality of the artistic athmosphere, teaching and learning at Natana Kaorlai can be witnessed thanks to the rendition in Kutiyattam of the greatKalidasa’s Sakuntala. As directed by Venuji, with The full blessings of Sri. Ammannur Madhava Chakyar. In the fall of 2004, the public of Geneva (Switzerland) acclaimed the incredible talent of The young performers, and was astonished to the young performers, and was astonished to Shed tears along with the sweet Sakuntala-drawn As it was into the very core of the drama, all “cultural” differenced swept away. Thanks to the Bewildering and most lovable presence and Genius of the beautiful young Kapila. Yet, the Rendition of the play never departed from the Strictest Sanskrit text and purest Kutiyattam tradition.


If an artform has to survive for centuries, not only must it have aesthetic Value but also a permanent arrangement for its proper conservation. Such art forms as Kutiyattam became a kuladharma (hereditary profession) only when such protection was given to the artist and the family. The permanent mode of presentation of such art forms is the religious ceremony (adiyantiram). There are also those who are professional by heredity who performed the adiyantiram as mere routine and received rights and benefits. But Ammannur Chachu Chakyar, my uncle, guru, and renowned artist was a man who thought Differently. His efforts during his times were inspiring models for us. He demonstrated to us the importance of practicing Koothu and Kutiyattam with great meticulousness and maintiaing the highest of artistic standards in performance.

During the first half of the twentieth century, the prevalent Arrangement to conserve temple arts that had survived so long ran Into rough weather. It was a time when there were changes in the political, social and cultural climate that led to a general attitude and thinking that announced that death of Sanskriti, and in such circumstamces, maintained that an art form like kutiyattam was irrelevant. The Koothambalam that used to overflow with the audience became a thing of the past. The income from temples for the performance was reduced to a pittance. The life and the breath of art faced a great moment of crisis. Our younger generation started exploring other avenues to earn a living. Chakyars like us, who did not know any other means to live were wondering ‘what next?’ Itwas during this time that as a god send, Venuji came to Ammannur Chakyar Madhom. He happily took over my domestic worries, became My disciple, colleague, and my guide and co-traveller. We shared a Number of stages in India and abroad; venu was with me behind the Scenes, in front, and sometimes with me on the stage.

We have traditionally believed that there will be deliverance from Worldly bonds only when the learning acquired during a lifetime is transfererred to the next generation. Venu’s untiring efforts are very much instrumental in carrying forward our Natya tradition in a more or less satisfactory manner made possible through my disciples who are my fortune. We have been together for over thrity years now.

Venu’s long devotion to art began with Kathakali, and moved through Pavakathakali, Tolpavakoothu, Mudiyettu, kakkrissi Natakam, and many Other art forms, to find ultimate realization in Kutiyattam. This book That describes Venuji’s exploration in different art forms and related Experiences will be remembered for ever as an important histirical Document detailing the efforts to conserve Kerala’s performing arts.

Kutiyattam has been recognized by UNESCO and noticed at both National and international levels. This memoir of the exploration of Fifty years in the world of art will be greatly helpful to the next Generation in their moments of crisis as they traverse this field with recognition, encouragement, and with more faith in security that it enjoys at present. I pray and wish that the Lord Shri Koodalmanikyam shower his choicest blessings and happiness to Venu and his family to continue their devotion to art with good health for a long time.


Theatrical Exploration of a Performer 1
1 The Nomadic Performer called Hanuman Pandaram 3
2 Tiruvatirakkali in the family 4
3 Kakkarissi: The Rustic Style of Dance Drama 6
4 In the World of Kathakali 10
5 In guru Gopinath’s Kalari 16
6 Guru chengannur Raman Pillai (The Colossus in Kathakali of Southern Style) 27
7 The first ‘Natya sastra’ in Malayalm31
8 The Theatre in the Juntgle’ The Article that Proclaimed The Greatness of Kathakali to the World 36
9 A system of Notation for Recording the Mudras in Kathakl 50
10 People Who Showed the Way 57
11 Experiencing Puppetry 78
12 Mime in Indian Style 91
13 With the Deaf and Dumb Actors 93
14 Tradition of Mask Dances 96
15 Thraough Mohiniyattam Workshops 106
16 Quest for the Secret of Kurtiyattam 114
17 Rejuventation of Nangiar Koothu 130
18 Kutiyattam in the World Theatre 137
19 Kalidasa’s Plays and Kutiyattam 143
20 Noh and Kutiyattam 156
21 Kabuki and Kathakali 162
22 The Symbolic Element in Tantra Mudra 165
23 Netrabhinaya: Kerala’s Unique Acting Style171
24 Performance Space: Problems and Requirments Of Traditional Art Forms 180
25 Performing Arts of Kerala Heritage and the Present Scenario 186
And the Journey Continues 192
Glossary 196
Bibliography 201
Other or Natana Kaiali 204
Afterword 219
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