The just concluded three-day event presented by “Nepathya” Koodiyattam center, Moozhikkulam, and organized by Traditions Live under the auspices of the Indian Consulate was a real success in all its sense. Here are a few cents from this writer.
Koodiyattam – Dhananjayam
The first act of the play, Subhadradhananjayam, authored by Kulasekhara Varma, who is said to have lived ahead of his time, was presented in full except the first entrance of the hero, Arjuna, to a hermitage near Dwaraka.
Instead, the presentation commenced with the entry of Vidooshaka (Kaundinya), the jester aide to Arjuna, into the hermitage, following the latter, completely exhausted by traversing in hot sun in search of food. His union with Arjuna, the latter saving a maiden from a demon, Arjuna and the maiden falling in love at first sight, her subsequent disappearance and Arjuna’s decision to proceed to Dwaraka in the disguise of a seer with the assistance of Kaundinya, were the contents of what was presented here in a span of three days.
Sajeev Narayana Chakyar
The senior-most member of the team, Sajeev came in as Dhananjayan on days 1 & 3 and as Kaundinyan on day 2. The detailed interpretation of three verses, (ज्वलदवनिभिः, अक्रन्तन्तीमनाथामिव – on day 1 and सौन्दर्यं सुकुमारता on day 3) all by himself and with the assistance of the jester was attractive and pleasing. In fact, he did create an impression, with the first dialogue, asking Kaundinya to refrain from approaching the mirage. The repetition of the words “इतः तावत् आगम्यतां” in three different styles (as instruction, as command and as request) exemplified “Vaachika Abhinaya” in its totality in this art form. Sajeev also appeared as Kaundinya on day 2. Throughout he seemed to have sported an attitude to perform exactly as has been taught.
Margi Madhu Chakyar
Madhu portrayed Kaundinyan on days 1 & 3 and Dhananjayan on day 2. His humorous disposition throughout as Vidooshakan is worthy of praise. Cutting short, where absolutely needed and without omitting any representative Malayalam Verses for the explanations, Madhu on and often made the viewers slip into uproars of laughter. He was especially good in interpreting the hero’s dialogues with appropriate narrations where needed. As Dhananjaya on day 2, the detailed explanation of the verse “चलकुवलयधाम्नः” really revealed the theatrical concept of Koodiyattam and its difference from the performance concept of the west
Dr. Indu G.
As Subhadra, right from the falling from sky till her exit on day 2, Dr Indu made her presence felt. The initial appearance, look-seeing Dhananjaya after the safe landing, overwhelming by the arrows of cupid, explanation of circumstances behind her abduction and the saving by Arjuna, the constant increase of attraction towards the saviour et-al were enacted in style
In addition, she also performed “Akroora Gamanam” Nangiyar Koothu in an unparalleled style. The incarnations of the Lord, especially lion-man (Narasimham) stunned the viewers. Akroora’s immersion in the thoughts of the Supreme Almighty, his paying homage to the land where He dwelled, the final meeting with Krishna – all these were attractive. The “Sandhya Varnana”, imitating the Padmini and Cakra bird, was eye-pleasing indeed
Nepathya Jinesh and Kalamandalam Manikantan supported the enactment on Mizhavu and Kalanilayam Rajan played Idakka. The rapport these gentlemen exhibited with the actors is worth a mention. Picking up even the movement of eyes from behind attracted the viewers immensely. Rajan’s playing of film song “Chethi Mandaram Thulasi” on Idakka, as part of Akroora hearing Gopikas’ dusk prayers, would not be forgotten by those who watched for a long time to come. As a viewer, myself, I take this opportunity to congratulate them
Exclusively for green room, there was only one person, Kalamandalam Ravi Kumar. He was in total control of the costumes and chutty. Congratulations are also due to him for the timely conversion of actors into characters.
Nepathya Sreehari Chakyar
Sreehari performed interpretation of Ramayanam Prabandham – Udyana Bhanjanam section. His experience in Chakyar Koothu, which he learned traditionally, was amply evident throughout. The two verses and three passages, of the episode were well explained in the Padhakom style. One would especially recollect the garden guards’ state of affairs after having seen the garden destroyed. He definitely has a great future in Prababandham presentation, which is gladdening to note.
This little girl, daughter of Margi Sajeev Chakyar came in for cadence and recitation of verses for the Nangyar Koothu Nirvahanam. She has learnt the verses very well and recited them in the traditional style with clarity of pronunciation. It is with delight that we note that she is following the foot-steps of her father. Congratulations and all the best to her.