Most of the Kathakali performances are at night. We were lucky to see one performance on the evening of Durgashtami as part of the navarthri celebrations of Venketeshwara mandir, Thripunithura. I am very glad to have my children with me to see this wonderful art form of our state.
The term Kathakali iteself brings the rich make up of the artist. Kathakali is an ethnic art form of Kerala. Most of the stories are from the great epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha. I had seen the Keechaka vadhom and Kalyanasaugandhikam. The music behind it is known as 'Kathakali padam'. Musician uses an instrument called 'Chengila' its made of bell metal. There will be percussion instrument like Maddalam, Idakka and chenda accompanied by Ilathalam.
The artist conveys the story through mudras and his facial expressions. The magical music of Kathakali has the power to grab the mind of audience. Colourful costumes, very familiar stories and the carnatic based music made its a popular art form before the Tele vision era. It may be the most popular entertainment of that time.
Very familiar song from a Malayalam Movie 'Danger Biscuit' written by Sri Sreekumaran Thambi and music by Sri Dakshinamurthy Swamikal
'Uthara swayamvaram kathakali kanuvan uthrada rathriyil poyirunnu' a very romantic song in the back ground of Kathakali. Kathakali is performed in front of a large vilakku and it is called 'Kali vilakku' . The stage is called Kali thattu.
Kathakali Centres of Kerala are
- Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthy
- RLV College, Thripunithura
- Unnayiwarrier smaraka Kalanilayam, Thrissur
- PSV Natyasanghom, Kottackal
- Gandhi Seva sadanom, Palakkad
- Margi, Thiruvananthapuram
- Mudra, Ernakulam
- Cochin cultural centre, Kochi