A efficiency of the Kathakali play Santhanagopalam noticed spectators moved by a bereaved father’s anguish
The Kathakali performs composed between the seventeenth and early twentieth centuries with tales drawn from the epics cope with the myriad mortal sentiments, interspersed with divine interventions. Some are simply understandable, even to the uninitiated. One such play is Mandavappally Ittiraricha Menon’s Santhanagopalam, which unfolds the anguish of a Brahmin who walks into Dwaraka with the corpse of his new child son, lamenting his destiny and presenting his grievances to Krishna.
It is sort of uncommon to have a Brahmin, that too with semi-realistic facial make-up and easy costume, change into an aadyaavasaana (principal) character in a Kathakali play, by which Arjuna normally performs a secondary function. The entry of the Brahmin is marked by 5 slow-tempo kitathikithimtham (a distinctly choreographed element of aangikaabhinaya for a personality to determine himself on stage). For the late maestro, Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair, the variety of the kitathikithimtham was additionally an indicator of the space travelled by the character. With the Brahmin’s character — the protagonist — devoid of the spectacular aura that aharya (make-up and costume) typically provides the nayakas (heroes) and pratinayakas (anti-heroes) in Kathakali, it takes theatrical brilliance from the actor to painting the function convincingly.
A latest efficiency of the play at Kunnamkulam turned out to be a tasty expertise. Peesappilly Rajeev, an imaginative actor with a penchant for dramatic overtones, performed the grief-stricken Brahmin along with his attribute thanmayeebhava (identification), which compelled the spectators to empathise with the character’s emotional turbulence. The Brahmin’s outbursts, alongside Krishna’s detachment — excellently enacted by Adithyan, a gifted younger actor — carried an uncommon aesthetic profundity. The versatile Kalamandalam Shanmukhan convincingly portrayed the shifting moods of Arjuna, who guarantees to guard the Brahmin’s subsequent little one however fails miserably to maintain his phrase.
Right from the times of Mankulam Vishnu Namboodiri because the Brahmin and the late legend, Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair, as Arjuna, the discourse between the 2 characters has been protracted. The Brahmin insists on guarantees, sworn within the identify of a number of luminaries together with Krishna, for defense for his subsequent little one; a visibly exasperated Arjuna refuses all such strategies, earlier than ultimately giving in. These extended dialogues are actually a factor of the previous; Rajeev and Shanmukhan truncated the section, a lot to the reduction of the viewers. Rajeev successfully expressed the anger of the Brahmin, and in . the ultimate scene, when he comes throughout all his 10 youngsters, it was touching to see his frustration, anger and anguish give strategy to a deep sense of repentance and jubilation in entrance of Krishna and Arjuna.
All the slokas and the padams within the play require emotive singing. Kalamandalam Babu Namboodiri, supported by Kalamandalam Vinod, sang each padam poignantly. The Brahmin’s very first padam, ‘Haa! haa! karomi!’ is in a deshi raga, Khandaram, the notes of which serve to reinforce the character’s anguish. The singers didn’t change ragas in the important thing padams, a comfort for conservative viewers. Kalanilayam Udayan Namboodiri, an acclaimed Thayambaka soloist, had issue in accompanying the kalasams (dance segments), particularly these of Arjuna. However, Kalamandalam Rajnarayanan’s apposite strokes on the maddalam greater than offset the occasional shortcomings within the melam.
Raaga, an academic and humanities organisation based mostly in Florida, in affiliation with Kunnamkulam Kathakali Club, staged the play at Bethany English School’s open-air auditorium. A video recording with English subtitles is to be screened within the U.S shortly for a world viewers.