Dance & Theatre
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Lakshmana in Kutiyattam

Kutiyattam, the classical Sanskrit theatre of Kerala, is remarkable for being the oldest existing theatrical show of India as well. This art form has also won laurels from UNESCO for being a masterpiece of the oral and the intangible tradition of humanity.

Kutiyattam is traditionally performed and preserved by the families of actors called Chakiyars and Nangiars. It is performed strictly indoors in Koothambalams, theatres built as an annex to the temples.

Kutiyattam has both the Sanskrit and Kerala influences. Usually, a single act from a Sanskrit play is taken and later it is developed into a full fledged dramatic performance. The linguistic medium is Sanskrit, yet the Vidushaka or jester speaks in the vernacular.

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).

In the video, the character of Lakshmana, brother of Rama in the Indian epic Ramayana, is performed.