MUDRA – The language of dance and theatre in Kerala

17 10 2015


Colloquium, Exhibition, Demonstrations, Film Screenings and Performances 

Celebrating 50 years of dance and theatre notation by G Venu

on 23,24,25 October 2015 at Natanakairali, Irinjalakuda

with assistance from the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India


23rd Oct 

10 am – Opening session

Welcome address – Kapila Venu

Exhibition on Notation of Mudra-s by G Venu inaugurated by Renu Ramanath


‘My journey through Mudra and Notation’ –  presentation by G Venu – Today’s topic ‘The evolution of a system of Notation’

‘Hasthalakshanadeepika in Mohiniyattam’ – Lecture-Demonstration by Nirmala Paniker

‘Mudra- The language of Indian dance’ – Presentation by Sreelakshmy Govardhanan

‘Mudra – In the contexts of traditional and contemporary theatres’ – Presentation by Sankar Venkateswaran

4 pm – Film Screening

Screening of ‘KAPILA’ which won the National Award from the Govt. of India for best film on Culture, 2014 directed by Sanju Surendran. The film will be introduced by the director.

5.30 pm – Book release function

Welcome address – G Venu

Chairperson – Prof.George S Paul

Inauguration – Govt. of Kerala Chief VIP Adv.Thomas Unniadan MLA

Adv.Thomas Unniadan releases the book ‘Mudra- The language of dance and theatre in Kerala’ by handing a copy to Shri E K Keshavan (Secretary, Thapasya – Kalasahityavedi Irinjalakuda)

Felicitation – Shri Agnisharman

Vote of Thanks – Smt.Nirmala Paniker

7 pm Performance

Mohiniyattam Recital by Sandra Radhakrishnan and Parvathy Sreevallabhan (disciples of Guru Nirmala Paniker, Natanakaisiki)

24th Oct

10 am – Morning Session

Welcome address – Pothiyil Renjith Chakyar

Chairperson – Pothiyil Naranayana Chakyar, Palakkad

Inaugaration – Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar

Felicitation – M K Devarajan


‘My journey through Mudra and Notation’ –  presentation by G Venu – Today’s topic ’Notating the hand gestures of Mohiniyattam’

‘Symbolism in dance notation’ – Talk by Surendran Chembukkad

Vote of thanks – Parvathy Sreevallabhan

4 pm – Film screening

  1. Selected portions of Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar’s abhinaya filmed in 1979 for a documentary that is yet to be released
  2. Documentary on Mani Madhava Chakyar made by Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi

7 pm – Performance

Shankaracharya’s Saudaryalahari in Nangiar Koothu

Performed by Kapila Venu

Choregraphed by G Venu

25th Oct

10 am – Morning Session

Welcome address – Kalamandalam Rajeev

Chairperson – Remesan Nambisan

Inaugaration – Guru Padmabhooshan Madavoor Vasudevan Nair


‘Mudrabhinaya in the tradition of Guru Chengannoor Raman Pillai’ Talk by Guru Padmabhooshan Madavoor Vasudevan Nair

‘My journey through Mudra and Notation’ –  presentation by G Venu – Today’s topic ’Memorable experiences while notating Ramayana Samkshepam’

“Hastabhinaya in Natyashastra’ – Talk by C P Unnikrishnan

‘The evolution of the purity of technique in Kathakali’ – Talk by Sreechitran M J

Vote of thanks – Kalamandalam K P Narayanan Nambiar

4 pm Film Screening

  1. ‘Dancing with the Gurus’ – a film on Ammannur Madhava Chakyar by Aruna Harprasad
  2. Selected scenes from Kutiyattam performances filmed in 1973 by Prajna Thakur

7 pm – Performance

Kathakali – Banayudham by Guru Madavoor Vasudevan Nair and group


Kaniyar Kali and Mudiyettu at Natanakairali

30 12 2011

Kaniyar Kali

Mudiyettu, Photo:Thulasi Kakkat

Natanakairali presents

Kanniyar Kali* by Shri. Dwaraka Krishnan and group on 2nd Jan 2012, 9 PM onwards at Natanakairali, Irinjalakuda


Mudiyettu* by Shri. Pazhur Manian Marar and group on 3rd January 2012, 9 PM onwards at Natanakairali, Irinjalakuda

Kanniyar Kali* is also known as Desathukali. It is a folk play that has both dance and theatre elements. Popular in the villages of Palaghat it used to be performed by the Nair community. However one of the main themes dealt with in the Kanniyar porattu is the criticism of the caste differences in society towards communities like Malayan, Kuravan etc who were one-time slaves and dependents of the feudal chieftains of the Malabar area in Kerala. The dance is fast moving and militant performed in the honour of the deity Bhagavathy.

* Mudiyettu is an ancient ritual theatre that depicts the mythological tale of a battle between the goddess Kali and the demons Darika and Danavendra. It is performed by marar and kurup communities in certain kavu-s of Kerala.  It is an example of the transition from ritual to theatre. It is the second among two of the artforms from Kerala to be declared by UNESCO as an Oral and Intangible Hertiage of Humanity.

Lecture Demonstration by Noh Theatre Master Shimizu Kanji

27 12 2011

Noh Master Shimizu Kanji

Natanakairali presents lecture demonstration by Noh Master Shimizu Kanji
Renowned Japanese Noh Theatre Master Shimizu Kanji will do a lecture Demonstration on the acting techniques of Noh theatre at Natanakairali’s Abhinayakkalari actors’ laboratory on 28th Dec 2011 at 6.30 PM. 

His talk will focus on the the stylistic and technical nuances of Noh acting with and without masks. He will also talk about the basic posture, use of voice and some selected portions from plays. Shimizu Kanji is a master teacher of Noh at Okinawa Prefectural University of the Arts (Okinawa kenritsu Geijutsu Daigaku, Okinawa, Japan). He is well trained in the traditional techjnique of Noh and at the same time has been involved in various experimental works as well.

In honour of the visiting guest artitses Natanakairali will host performances including ‘Parvativiraham Nangiar Koothu by Smt.Kapila Venu on 29th Dec at 6 pm, ‘Palatharamam naadangal – Mohiniyattam choreographed by Guru Nirmala Paniker based on Vylopilli’s poem by the same name on 30th Dec, Kaniyar Kali by Shri.Dwaraka Krishnan and group on 2nd Jan 2012at 9 pm, Mudiyettu by Shri.Manian Marar and group on 3rd Jan 2012 at 9 pm.

This interactive session will mark the beginning of a collaborative venture by Tokyo National University and Natanakairali aimed towards a deep research into the acting techniques of two great theatre traditions of the world, Kutiyattam and Noh theatre.