Prabandhakoothu Artiste A.V. Narayanan Has Videographed A 37-hour Efficiency Of Dootavakyam, Creating Invaluable Archival Footage

The phrase is as essential because the face for a Koodiyattam artiste. As the vidooshaka in a Koodiyattam play or because the narrator of Prabandhakoothu, a sub-genre of Koodiyattam, the artiste must be a grasp of narrative expertise. The vidooshaka in Prabandhakoothu as soon as even loved the privilege to mock and criticise the king. Is that mighty phrase shedding its edge?

Prabandhakoothu is the solo male-only artwork kind that chronicles epic tales, whereas interspersing them with fashionable conditions and spicing them up with wit and humour. Sanskrit slokas are parsed and their logical which means defined in Malayalam in nice element, references are made to comparable tales and even fashionable literary texts. For occasion, the well-known sloka in Ramayana, ‘Raman dasaratham vidhi…’, the place Sumitra advices Lakshmana simply as he units out for the forest. Though the sloka has solely 12 phrases, the Prabandhakoothu artiste might take over two hours to clarify it, unfurling the totally different shades of meanings in every phrase.

Plays With A Objective

The introduction round 900 CE of the character of vidooshaka, who spoke the widespread man’s language, drew new audiences to the Sanskrit theatre kind of Koodiyattam. From this advanced, over a pair of centuries, Prabandhakoothu, often known as Chakyarkoothu, since this was carried out solely by members of the Chakyar neighborhood until a number of a long time in the past.

And texts referred to as prabandhas got here to be written solely for Prabandhakoothu. Its perform was to entertain, instruct, criticise, provoke to assume, and thereby assist cleanse society of its ills.

Prabandhakoothu remains to be very talked-about and way more in demand than Koodiyattam, with many temples internet hosting it throughout annual festivals and on auspicious days. But some critical practitioners and connoisseurs usually are not too glad. They worry Prabandhakoothu is shedding its gravitas and is more and more being seen by many as a neighborhood model of the stand-up comedian. They additionally really feel it has been diminished to two-hour storytelling classes, devoid of the scholarship that the previous masters lent it.

A.V. Narayanan, a Prabandhakoothu artiste, says most of the performances seen as we speak characteristic the identical few tales. He laments that coaching and efficiency of critical works usually are not getting the eye they deserve. There is a danger that essential elements of the storytelling craft will likely be misplaced endlessly as a result of an absence of performers and audiences.

This prompted Narayanan, who can also be a movie editor, to make use of his videographing expertise to archive genuine Prabandhakoothu performances by veteran exponents. The launch of the video recording of Dootavakyam final 12 months carried out by 72-year-old Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar, a senior artiste, guru, scholar and performer recognized for his critical method to the artwork, is the fruits of such efforts.

Dootavakyam, written by Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, extra well-liked for his devotional textual content, Narayaneeyam, covers the story of Krishna’s peace mission to the Kauravas. It begins with the Pandavas searching for peace and ends with Krishna displaying his cosmic kind or Viswaroopa. The textual content has greater than 45 slokas and a number of other prolonged passages in prose. The 37-hour lengthy high-definition video of the efficiency was recorded over 21 days and launched late final 12 months after a number of delays.

“There are several other prabandhas that need to be preserved,” says Narayanan. But it’s inconceivable for one particular person to undertake this activity. Narayanan finds that there usually are not been many takers for his video recording, and hopes some organisation will take up the problem.

Kuttan Chakyar says such recordings are beneficial not merely from the leisure level of view, however as a information for future college students. He fears many different Melpathur works, that are landmark dramatic monologues in Kerala’s literary historical past, might have already grow to be inaccessible. For instance, he says, he has seen his guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar carry out Rajasooyam, however is sceptical if anybody as we speak can do justice to that work.

According to Kuttan Chakyar, “Learning long prabandhas is a tedious affair. Apart from memorising the text, one has to think about it, practise hard, and perform it over and over again. “Prabandhakoothu is not merely the narration of a story. It is playacting, where the artiste has to create the dialogues of the various characters on the spot. That is why familiarity with the text is extremely important. And more meanings emerge the more one reflects on the poet’s words.” He is uncertain if the brand new era of artistes can have the time, endurance or motivation for that.

But there’s hope but. Dr. T. Ok. Narayanan, vice-chancellor, Kerala Kalamandalam, mentioned on the launch of the Dootavakyam video that such tasks actually fall within the area of the humanities college. He needed the Koodiyattam division at Kalamandalam to undertake tasks to digitise works by masters. There is not any different method to protect such traditions, he mentioned.


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