‘Palazhi Madhanam’, a power-packed presentation, was premiered at Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University

There is a joke in Kathakali that every one {that a} chuvanna tadi, a villainous character, must do is to look menacing, make some noise, and get killed ultimately. There are, nevertheless, just a few meaty roles, comparable to Sugreeva in ‘Balivadham’ and Jarasandha in ‘Rajasooyam’. ‘Palazhi Madhanam’, or the Churning of Palazhi, which debuted at Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University lately, is a welcome addition to this quick checklist.

An influence-packed presentation by Kalamandalam’s Vadakkan Kalari introduced out Kathakali’s nritta facet with brisk kalasams or pure dance actions backed by some vibrant drumming. It supplied immense scope for each nritta and abhinaya to Bali, a chuvanna tadi or red-bearded character. Most necessary, this new play was wealthy in innovation whereas strictly adhering to the grammar and syntax of Kathakali.

The story is about Bali stepping in to alleviate the gods and demons who’ve turn out to be drained whereas churning the ocean for nectar. The script has simply two different characters — Indra, who invitations his son Bali to assist the gods, and Matali, Indra’s charioteer. Not a lot is thought about this attakatha or its creator, although some consider Kunchan Nambiar, who lived within the 18th century, wrote it.

Much of the textual content together with the start and the tip has been misplaced. Yet the core of the play, lead-choreographed by Kalamandalam Neeraj and introduced in 4 scenes, supplied a fantastic viewing expertise. As Neeraj took pains to level out, it was a collaborative effort by your complete staff, as most of the members are his seniors and gurus.

The play, which runs for practically 2.5 hours, begins with Indra asking Matali to go and search Bali’s assist. Kalamandalam Shanmughan as Indra and Harinarayanan as Matali excelled. Shanmughan’s slow-paced kalasams after each charanam within the first scene was a deal with to observe.

The central character of Bali, performed by Kalamandalam Pradeep, was a bundle of power, unleashed with vigorous kalasams and glorious expressions.

Much of the credit score for this profitable manufacturing goes to the percussionists, led by chenda artiste Kalamandalam Balasundaran, who have been progressive in various each the rhythmic construction and tempo. For instance, Matali placing collectively his chariot within the first scene was finished in panchari, a six-beat cycle, executed to perfection by Harinarayanan. Another occasion was Scene Two, by which Bali thrashes the saptasalas or seven timber to alleviate stress as his palms are itching for a combat, the place the variation in tempo was used to nice impact. Bali single-handedly churning the ocean holding the top and tail of the snake Vasuki in every hand within the final scene was set in panchari to prime off a rhythmic feast.

The staff included Venu Mohan and Ravishankar on the chenda, and Haridas, Venu and Sreejith on the maddalam. Lead vocalist Kalamandalam Vinod, who additionally set the music and ragas, was supported by Viswas. Make-up and greenroom assist have been supplied by Sivadasan, Sukumaran, Ramesh, Arun and Sohan.

Only within the second a part of the final scene did the piece appear to weaken somewhat. Many occasions are enacted right here however have been run by way of merely with mudras. At least some may have been described intimately, giving a superb actor comparable to Pradeep a possibility to disclose his abilities. For instance, the episode of Vasuki throwing up venom, Siva swallowing it, and Parvathi guaranteeing the poison doesn’t go down his throat may have been dwelt upon.

The incidents described within the dandakam slokas comparable to Airawata the elephant and the goddesses Lakshmi and Tara rising from Palazhi appeared a bit rushed. Though dandakams — slokas set to a sure meter and used to relate a collection of occasions — are historically not elaborated, some innovation in detailing may have been tried out.

‘Palazhi Madhanam’ reveals the potential for brand spanking new productions and improvements, which Kalamandalam University should certainly try to encourage.


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