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Hanuman in Kutiyattam

Shown in the video is Hanuman, the monkey king from the epic Ramayana, who is seen. The actor wears Makutam, an ornate headgear peculiar to the character of Hanuman. Another feature of this character is that all of his costumes and face paintings are white in colour.

Kutiyattam is an ancient Sanskrit theatre of Kerala which had recently been declared by UNESCO as a masterpiece of oral and intangible tradition of humanity. This 2000 year old art form is also one of the oldest surviving theatres of India.

Kutiyattam is traditionally performed and preserved by the families of actors called Chakiyars and Nangiars. It is performed strictly indoors and it is in Koothambalam, a theatre built as an annex to the temples that Kutiyattam is performed.

There are many costumes in Kutiyattam, which symbolises the nature of the character. They are– Pacha (noble characters), Kathi (valorous yet vicious), Pazhukka (noble and heroic), Thadi (monkey characters), Minukku (women and simple characters) and Kari (Demons and demonesses).