Valourly acts, Powerful Performance ....

Vinu Vasudevan | Jul 01, 2014 | Vol 6, Issue 3
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It is not a matter of surprise that a young lady from another country came to Kerala  (India)and study Kathakali in these days. But, Ms. Irina Jacobi, a 27 year old lady from Germany performing the play Ravanolbhavam Kathakali without a single mistake in 'mudra' or grammer is an act to note for the art lovers.

The artistes and enthusiasts from the foreign countries got attracted to Kerala's classical art forms like Kathakali and Kudiyattom, is not only because of it's colourful costumes, but the vibrant body language that our artistes had possessed through rigorous training. Though they had only some primary knowledge about the art, the interest they are showing to understand it is appreciable. It is not a matter of surprise that a young lady from another country came to Kerala and study Kathakali in these days. But, Ms. Irina Jacobi, a 27 year old lady from Germany performing the play Ravanolbhavam Kathakali without a single mistake in 'mudra' or grammer is an act to note for the art lovers.

Irina Jacobi from Germany

Irina reached Kerala Kalamandalam five years back as a scholarship student in Kathakali vesham (acting) under Kalamandalam Harinarayanan. She had gained the fundamentals of the art form from him. After two years, she had moved to Kalamandalam  Soman, the senior tutor and well acclaimed performer of Kathakali. Under the training of Soman, Irina had practiced and specialized in 'Kathi' veshams (valour roles) such as Narakasura, Ravana etc. "In my opinion, it is quite difficult and tedious for woman to perform these king roles in Kathakali, but she had never disappointed me in the Kalari(school) or stage.' Soman said. Irina had performed the roles of Narakasura and Ravana in Balivijayam in Karalmanna and Mangode in past two years.

Now, it was at Vellinezhi she had performed Ravanolbhavam play. It is the second time that she is doing this role. From The beginning itself she had maintained the energy and power that the mighty Ravana should generate. Ravanolbhavam - one of the rare plays in Kathakali in which the performer must do it as Pakarnnattom, in which, the performer should do it in a narrative format and act as the characters too. The initial one and half hour long performance, which describes the young Ravana's growth from a normal kid to the Asura king, Irina had powerfully depicted it. Though, her appearance and size looks a bit small in terms of a Kathakali performer, when she had started the performance all those matters became irrelevant. Her deep involvement and commitment towards the art were the real pieces of success behind it. The exited Guru Kalamandalam Soman emotionally expressed his happiness through tears after the performance and told, “I was totally disturbed and tensed; but now I am really satisfied and happy".

Irina said "It is quite encouraging and supportive audience in Kerala for art forms like Kathakali. So I never felt any kind of strangeness whenever I perform. My guru Kalamandalam Soman is so motivating throughout my training times. It really made me strong to do these kinds of roles".

Kalamandalam Sreeraman (as Kumbhakarna) and Kalamandalam Shibi Chakravarthy (Vibheeshana) were the other performers in that play. Kalamandalam Venumohan and Kalamandalam Ravishankar (Chenda), Kalamandalam Venu and Kalamandalam Rahul (Maddalam) were the percussionists and Sadanam Jyothishbabu and Sreerag Varma were the singers.      

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