Sunday, June 27, 2010

Arts of Kerala,Classical Arts ,Kathakali,Koodiyattam ,Chakyarkoothu


The real treasures of Kerala lay in the cultural heritage of its people. Kerala has its own typical art forms which reflect the life and outlook of the people. From the renowned Kathakali, considered to be the complete art form as it synthesizes all that is best in the fields of drama, music and dance, to the folk dances which are reflection of the rhythmic impulses of a sensitive people. Recently, the UNESCO brought to light, a less known art form - Koodiyattom - and declared it as one among the 'Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It is for the first time in the history of UNESCO that select art forms across the world have been given this recognition as part of its effort to safeguard expressions of oral heritage and traditional culture which are in danger of disappearing due to the effects of globalization. Here are the some descriptions of various classical folk and martial art forms of Kerala.

Classical Art Forms of Kerala

Oldest art form Koodiyattom, (literally, dancing together) is the Sanskrit theatre of Kerala which is believed to have originated two millennia ago. The plays are in Sanskrit with the Chakyars performing the male roles and the Nangiars (women of the Nambiar community) performing the female roles. The Vidushaka or clown recites the Malayalam translation for the benefit of the audience. Manipravalam, a mixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam language owes its origin to Koodiyattom.


Kathakali (literally, story play), the spectacular classical dance drama of Kerala based on the guidelines laid by Sage Bharatha's Natya Sastra, the ancient treatise on dance and drama, is over 500 years old. This elaborate art form integrates dance, music, poetry and histrionics. And combines both the thandava (powerful energetic dance, as that of Shiva) and lasya (gentle graceful dance, as that of Parvathi) elements.


Chakyarkoothu, also called Koothu, is one of the oldest classical theatre arts of Kerala This solo dance is usually presented by members of the Chakyar community in the Koothambalams (temple theatres) of temples to the accompaniment of the mizhavu (drum in the shape of a large spherical copper pot) and elathalam. The Chakyar is an ideal satirist who uses narrative, mime, wit and innuendo to communicate with the audience, often cutting jokes even at the expense of the people present there. It is his prerogative, and custom has conferred upon him immunity from interruption during a performance. Themes are usually from the epics.

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