Kailasodharanam (Lifting of mount Kailasa), Kutiyattam

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Shown in the video is the Kailasodharanam Kutiyattam play by Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri. The story inacted here is a piece of drama from the Indian epic Ramayana, in which the mighty demon King Ravana encounters Mount Kailasa and the ensuing events culminating in a curse that ends his life at a later stage.

Kutiyattam is viewed as one of the oldest theatrical arts in India. This ancient art form is one which is promoted by UNESCO since it safeguards the rare oral and intangible tradition of humanity. Segments of Sanskrit plays written by renowned playwrights like Bhasa, Kalidasa and Saktibhadra are adopted for Kutiyattam performance. But on stage, these short acts get a full fledged identity.

Kutiyattam is performed strictly indoors and a separate theatre called Koothambalam will be there for the performance of this as an annex to the temples.The main linguistic medium of Kutiyattam is Sanskrit. But the Vidushaka or jester of the dance drama speaks in the vernacular.

In Kutiyattam, as in Kathakali, there are specific make-ups representing certain qualities. The Pacha (green) characters are the noble ones, the Pazhukka (light red) are both noble and heroic, the Kathi (knife) are valorous but evil, Thadi (beard) are monkey characters like Hanuman, Minukku (gloss) are simple and female characters and the Kari (black) denotes demonesses like Surpanakha. Percussions like Mizhavu, thimila, kurumkuzhal, sankhu and edakka accompany the Kutiyattam performance.

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