Kathakali Festival at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations

Salini Venugopal | Feb 15, 2015
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The anniversary celebrations of Kathakali Club Thrissur (Kerala, India) was conducted from 23 to 31 January in its Golden Jubilee year, 2015. The 9 - days celebrations held at Agrasaala of Parammekkavu temple, Thrissur marked the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the club. The event was made memorable by the noted presence and participation of eminent artists.

The anniversary celebrations of Kathakali Club Thrissur(Kerala, India) was conducted from 23 to 31 January in its Golden Jubilee year, 2015. The 9-days celebrations held at Agrasaala of Parammekkavu temple, Thrissur marked the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the club. The event was made memorable by the noted presence and participation of eminent artists.15 kathakali  recitals apart from the music concert and purusharthakoothu were hosted on these days with a participation of about 120 artists.

The fifty years

Started in 1965, the objective of the club was to promote and familiarize Kathakali by conducting regular performances. In earlier days, the club conducted overnight Kathakali performances and later on, it included other traditional and classical art forms like Koothu, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam etc. Music concerts, magic shows  and martial arts were also staged under the leadership of the club members. The club was able to host the performances of many reputed artists of yesteryears like Guru Kunju Kurup, Guru Gopinath, Chengannur Raman Pillai, Vazhenkata Kunju Nair, Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair, Keezppadam Kumaran Nair, Vellinezhi Nanu Nair, Kalamandalam Kesavan, Venmani Haridas etc. For the past 50 yrs, the club, has been conducting monthly Kathakali performances and as per records have staged 633 days of performances including the 9-day golden jubilee festival.

Kathakali club, Thrissur, has its own collection of Kathakali Koppu (costumes) which are still maintained and used. The club supported several new attakathas by giving them a stage to perform. They had organized many Lecture -Demonstrations and familiarization classes in Kathakali to create quality viewers. Professional / amateur artists, young / upcoming talents and female artists were always supported by the club by giving them stages to perform.  A bestowment, ‘Suvarnnamudra’, is presented by the club each year to honour veteran Katakali artists. Last year it was given to Guru Chemencheri Kunjiraman Nair who completed 100 yrs. This year it was given to Kalamandalam Balasubrahmanian, the versatile actor and the former principal of Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University.

At present the executive committee members of the club are Dr K Balakrishnan (President), N P Unnithan (Vice President), R Narayanan (Joint Secretary) and P K N Menon (Treasurer). The sudden demise, of Mr. P K P Nedungadi  who was the secretary of the club, immediately after the completion of the festival was a great loss.

The nine day festival was inaugurated by Padmashree Kalamandalam Gopi on 23rd of January. A musical blend presented by Cheppad Vamanan Namboothiri, Kottakkal Madhu etc. was presented on the first day.  The second day’s highlight was Purushardhakoothu, the solo performance by Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar. The seven day Kathakali festival commenced on 25th Jan, that was officially inaugurated by Shri. C N Balakrishnan, Minster for Co-operation, Govt. of Kerala . Every day of the Kathakali festival except for the last day was dedicated to commemorate the great artists, Guru Pattikkamthodi Ravunni Menon, Guru Chengannur Raman Pillai, Mundaya Venkitakrishna Bhagavathar, Moothamana Kesavan Namboothiri, Thiruvilwamala Venkichan Swamy and Vazhenkata Rama Warrier. Seminars, discussions, familiarizations, Kathakali music and performances were held during these days.  The kathakali themes staged here were Kalakeyavadham, Ravanavijayam, Baalivadham, Dakshayaagam (Samboornnam), Utharaswayamvaram, Keechakavadham, Santhanagopalam, Subhadraharanam, Nalacharitham Moonnam Divasam, Narakasuravadham, Kalyanasougandhikam, Kiratham, Rugmangacharitham, Ravanothbhavam and Duryodhanavadham.

Mainstream artists like Padmashree Kalamandalam Gopi, Madavoor Vasudevan Nair, Kalamandalam Ramachandran Unnithan, Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboothiri, Kottakkal Chandrasekhara Warrier, Kalamandalam Kesavan Namboothiri, Mathur Govindankutty, Kottakal Devadas, Palanad Divakaran, Kottakal Madhu, Kalamamndalam Unnikrishnan, Kuroor Vasudevan Namboothiri, Kalamandalam Ravikumar etc. took part in the kathakali festival. These nine day celebrations was an artistic feast to the not only to the Kathakali lovers but also for the general audience.
 

 

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