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.

Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam celebrates 25th Kutiyattam Mahotsavam

20 12 2011
Pothiyil Renjith Chakyar

Pothiyil Renjith Chakyar, Photo: Manoj Parameswaran


Date: 1st to 12th January 2012

Venue: Madhava Natya Bhoomi, Ammannur Gurukulam, Irinjalakuda

1st January

5pm – Inaugaration of the 25th annual festival and commemoration of Guru Ammannur Parameswara Chakyar

Welcome address – Kalamandalam Rajeev, Secretary, Ammannur Gurukulam

Presided By : Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar, President, Ammannur Gurukulam

Inaugaration – Adv.Thomas Unniadan MLA

Chief Guest – Dr.Rajan Gurukkal

Lighting of the lamp – Smt. Sonia Giri(Chairperson, Irinjalakuda Municipality)

Talk about 25 years of Kutiyattam Mahotsavam by: G.Venu (Kulapathi, Ammannur Gurukulam)

Ammannur Paramwsewara Chakyar memorial speech – Painkulam Narayana Chakyar

Felicitations: Narayanan Embranthiri (Principal, Unnayi Warrier Smaraka Kalanilayam) , Raji Suresh (Councillor, Irinjalakuda Municipality)

Vote of Thanks: Kalamandalam Narayanan Nambiar (Treasurer, Ammannur Gurukulam)

Performance : Nangiar Koothu – ‘Chitrangada’ based on Tagore’s play Chitra – Kapila Venu

2nd January

11 am  – Kutiyattam workshop series for school children – Inaugarated by Smt.Nirmala Paniker(Director, Natanakaisiki Mohiniyatta Gurukulam)

5.30 pm – Talk by Kalanilayam Haridas – ‘Costume  in Kutiyattam’

6.30 pm – Nangiar Koothu – ‘Subhadraharanam’ – by Aparna Nangiar

3rd January

5.30 pm – Talk by Sooraj Nambiar – ‘Charibheda-s (choreographic patterns) in Kutiyattam’

6.30pm – Nangiar Koothu – ‘Govardhanodharanam” –  by Saritha Krishnakumar

4th january

5.30 pm – Talk by Aparna Nangiar – ‘Swara-s and their uses in Kutiyattam’

6.30 pm – Balivadham Day One – ‘Sriramante Purappadu’ by  Ganesh Krishna

5th January

5.30 pm – Talk by Kalamandalam Narayanan nambiar ‘History and ritualistic aspects of Mizhavu’

6.30 pm – Balivadham Day Two – Sriramante Nirvahanam by Vinod N Menon

6th January

5.30pm Talk by Kapila Venu – ‘Hastabhinaya in Kutiyattam’

6.30 pm – Balivadham Day Three ‘Sugreevante Purappadu’ by Ganesh Krishna

7th Januray

5.30 pm – Talk by Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar ‘The femininity of Surpanakha’

6.30 pm – Balivadham Day Four – Sugrivante Nirvahanam by Ammannur Madhav

8th january

5.30 pm – Talk by Kalamandalam Rajeev – ‘The role of drumming in the Abhinaya in Kutiyattam’

6.30 pm – Balivadham Day Five Kutiyattam – Cast: Sugreevan-Sooraj Nambiar; Sriraman- Pothiyil Renjith Chakyar; Lakshmanan- Ammannur Madhav; Hanuman-Ganesh Krishna; Bali-Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar; Thara-Keerthi Sagar; Angadan-Vinod N Menon

9th January

5.30 pm – Talk by Kalamandalam Hariharan ‘ Training in Mizhavu drumming’

6.30 pm – Kutiyattam ‘Kalyanasaugandhikam’ – Cast: Bhimasenan-Ammannur Kuttan Chakyar; Krodhavashan-Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar; Vidyadharan-Sooraj nambiar; Gunamanjari-Archana nandakumar; Hanuman-Pothiyil Renjith Chakyar

10th January

5.30 pm – Talk by Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan ‘Role of Edakka drumming in kutiyattam’

6.30 pm – ‘Thoranayudham’ Day One- Cast: Shankukarnan-Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar; Vijaya-Gayathri P; Ravanan-pothiyil Renjith Chakyar

11th January

5.30 pm – Talk by Pothiyil Renjith Chakyar – ‘The possibilities of Ilakiattam in Kutiyattam’

6.30 pm – Thoranayudham Day Two – Cast: Shankukarnan-Sooraj Nambiar; Ravanan-Vinod N Menon

12th January

5.30 pm – Open discussion’The future of Kutiyattam’ practitioners and spectators will participate

6.30 pm – Kutiyattam ‘Thoranayudham’ Day Three – Cast: Ravana-Pothiyil Renjith Chakyar; Vibhishana-Ammannur Madhav; Hanuman-Sooraj Nambiar

Accompanying Artistes – Mizhavu: Kalamandalam Rajeev; Kalamandalam Hariharan; Kalamandalam Narayanan Nambiar; Kalamandalam Ratheesh Bhas; Kalamandalam Ravikumar; Kalamandalam Vineesh; Kalamandalam Jayaraj; Kalamandalam Manikantan; Kalamandalam Shivadas Nambiar

Edakka: Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan; P Nandakumar; Kalanilayam Kaladharan

Thalam: Smt.Nirmala Paniker; Aparna Nangiar; Kapila Venu;  Saritha Krishnakumar;  Keerthi Sagar;  Gayathri P; Archana Nandakumar

Chutti: Kalanilayam Parameswaran; Kalanilayam Hridas

Backstage assistance – Kalamandalam Shivadas Nambiar

Co-ordination – K R Sankaran

for further details please contact:

Ammannur Gurukulam, Chachu Chakyar Road, Irinjalakuda- 680121\Ph: 0480- 2823140, 99475 50136, 9947857551


10th Ranga parichaya Festival of Mohiniyattam

20 12 2011

Natanakaisiki Mohiniyattam Gurukulam of Natanakairali, Irinjalakuda Presents 10th Ranga parichaya Festival of Mohiniyattam


Guru Nirmala Paniker


Mohiniyattam which originated and developed in Kerala is one of the most beautiful Lasya dance forms of India. During the moment of desire of creation, the goddess took the form of Nateshwari /Mohini and danced the ’Sukumara’ graceful (Lasya) dance to attract   Shiva, who is mostly engrossed in deep meditation.

That is the first Lasya dance of Mohini with importance given to Shringara  Rasa, that we can find in the Puranas. The uniqueness of Mohiniyattam is that it still upholds without losing, many of the techniques of the dance style that was being performed since ancient times, mentioned in Puranas that of Adi Bhagavathi for creation of the universe and followed by Maha Vishnu for safeguarding the virtue and ensuring the sustenance of the universe. Natyasastra also says Parvathy is the first danseuse of Lasya. There in lies its importance and relevance.

The uniqueness of Mohiniyattam is that it still upholds without losing, many of the techniques of the dance style that was being performed since ancient times, mentioned in Puranas that of Adi Bhagavathi for creation of the universe and followed by Maha Vishnu for safeguarding the virtue and ensuring the sustenance of the universe. Natyasastra also says Parvathy is the first danseuse of Lasya. There in lies its importance and relevance.



26th December

Inauguration –Dr.Krishna Moorthy(Director,I.C.C.R.,Govt.Of India)


Mohiniyattam –    Ganapathy  sthuti, Arjuna Darsanam, (From Tagore’s Chitra)

(sponsored by ICCR Regional Office, Thiruvananthapuram)

27th December

Mohiniyattam -Arangettam of  Sudharma Periyath

Disciple of  Smt.Nirmala Paniker, Natanakaisiki.

28th December

Talk by  Smt.  Nirmala Paniker

Mohiniyattam –  Cholkettu,  Jathiswaram, Padam  ,Thillana and Saptham

29th December

Talk by Sri. G. VENU

Nangiar Koothu by Kapila Venu

30th December, 2011

Mohiniyatta Saptham (Malanadu –  Lyrics  fromVylopilly Sreedhara Menon’s poem”Palatharamam  Nadangal”)

Young danseuses of  Natanakaisiki

Umadevi, Sandra, Sangeetha, Sudharma Periyath,  Parvathy Sreevallabhan, Greeshma.

Atmaja   Menon, Hridya Haridas,  Gayathri Satheesan,  Chaithanya  Nadan,  Mrudula,  Medha,  Rudra Priya.

Guru-Smt.Nirmala Paniker

VOCAL: Sree Neelamperoor  Suresh Kumar and Sanathana Shenay

MADALAM : Kalanilayam Prakasan

FLUTE : Chalakudy Regunath, Irinjalakuda Visakhan

NATTUVANGAM : Smt. Nirmala Paniker and disciples





Mohiniyattam Gurukulam of Natanakairali

Irinjalakuda, KERALA 680 121

PHONE : 0480 2825559

Mobile: 9946649358






28 11 2011
Pavakathakali, Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

Pavakathakali, Photo: Thulasi Kakkat


(from 3rd to 11th  December 2011)

Date :    December 3rd   

Time:  10 AM Workshop  ;    6 PM Performance  


Venue:  Mariyamman Kovil, Kavuthiyam Parambu, Pandarathara, Palakkad


Date : 4th Dec   

Time : 3 pm workshop ; 6 pm Performance

Play: Kalyanasaugandhikam , Duryodhanavadham

Venue: Mariyamman Kovil, Kanjirakunnam, Pandarathara, Kodumbu, Palakkad


Date : 5Th Dec   

Time: 5 pm Performance

Play: Kalyanasaugandhikam, Duryodhanavadham

Venue: Poomulli Mana, Peringode, Palakkad

Date : 6th Dec   

Time: 5 pm Performance

Play: Kalyanasaugandhikam, Duryodhanavadham

Venue: Kothara Mana, Kothara, Palakkad

Date : 7th Dec   

Time: 5 pm Performance

Play: Kalyanasaugandhikam, Duryodhanavadham

Venue: Valiyaparakkad Tharavadu, (organised by Veerapalasi Samsakarika Kendram, Puthushakthi Arts Club, Kulukkalloor)

Date : 8th Dec   

Time: 5 pm

Play: Kalyanasaugandhikam, Duryodhanavadham

Venue : Vishwambhara Kshetram, Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Shala, Kottakkal, Malappuram

Date : 9th Dec   

Time: 5 pm

Play: Kalyanasaugandhikam, Duryodhanavadham

Venue: Azhvancheri Mana, Athavanadu, Malppuram

Date : 10th Dec   

Time: 5 pm

Play: Kalyanasaugandhikam, Duryodhanavadham

Venue: Thavanur Mana, Thavanur, Malappuram

Date  : 11th Dec  

Time: 11 am performance, Venue: Gramika, Kuzhikkaattusseri

Play: Kalyanasaugandhikam, Duryodhanvadham

Time: 5 pm

Play: Kalyanasaugandhikam, Dakshayagam

Venue: Natanakairali, Ammannur Chakyar Madhom, Irinjalakuda, Thrissur

Concept and Introduction            : Venu.G

Representing IGNCA                   : Rajinder Singh

Workshop                                  :RaviGopalan Nair

Convener                                  : K.Sreenivasan

Reception                                  : K.R. Sankaran

Stage decoration                        : Narayanankutty

Puppeteers                                : K.V. Ramakrishnan

: K.C. Ramakrishnan

:RaviGopalan Nair

: K. Sreenivasan

: Kalanilayam Haridas

Chenda                                     : V. Thakappan

Singing                                      : Kalanilayam Ramakrishanan

Edakka                                      : Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan

Observation                               : Kapila Venu

Pavakathakali plays  – Kalyanasaugadhikam



(Directed by G.Venu)

Documentation :  Media Centre Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts,New Delhi

News released by                                                      Enquiries

Natanakairali                                                            0480 2825559

Ammannur Chakyar Madhom                       G.Venu   :  9846452933

Irinjalakuda – 680 121, Thrissur                  K.Sreenivasan:9447617568


E-mail: natanakairali@gmail.com


For further details on pavakathakali :-

http://www.natanakairali.mimemo.net/www.virali.org/www.narthaki.com/info/articles/art157.html / www.indiansinparis.com/blog/roots/377-pavakathakali-kerala/

Pavakathakali – Chamu Pandaram and Velayudhan Pandaram in 1972

28 11 2011
Chamu Pandaram and Velayudhan Pandaram (Photo courtesy: Sangeet Natak Akademi)

Chamu Pandaram and Velayudhan Pandaram (Photo courtesy: Sangeet Natak Akademi)

Pavakathakali – Back to its village trail

25 11 2011
Puppeteers K C Ramakrishnan and Ravi Gopalan Nair, Photo Thulasi Kakkat

Raudrabheema from the play Duryodhanavadham

Pavakathakali, or Puppet Kathakali is an art form that has had its share in making Kathakali, the Classical Dance Theatre of Kerala, popular even from the time of its evolution.  It is possible to see in different regions across cultures the puppet version of their important art forms.  Bunraku is thus the puppet version of the Japanese Kabuki; the Chinese puppet theatre has elements that compare with theBeijingOpera.  The dance drama Yakshagana from Karnataka inIndiahas with regional variations its incarnation in the Yakshagana puppet.  The fact underlined is that when children and adults see a character unfold through puppets, it leaves a strong impression in their minds.

In olden times, puppeteers all over the world travelled a lot.  They would bundle up their puppets and travel across villages, from house to house and perform in the domestic space for children and adults.  When such itinerant performers arrived in the ancestral homes, the hosts paid a lot of attention to take care of their needs for the performances generated a lot of excitement in children.

In Kerala, for the Aandipandaras, such performances are traditionally the means of their livelihood.    There continue to be some families of such itinerant performers in Paruthippulli and Kodumbu villages in Palakkad.  Though they had migrated from Andhra Pradesh many centuries back and settled here, their mother tongue continues to be Telugu.  The means for their main source of income was to offer puja in households for Lord Subramanya and guide pilgrims on their way to Palani.  Apart from this, some of them were good in various types of performances.  It was a small group from among these who worked as puppeteers.  It is believed that they came from Andhra Pradesh via Tamil Nadu and settled in Kerala.  When they reached Kerala, they used to perform the Aryamaala, the Tamil folk drama as puppet show.  Later when Kathakali became popular in Kerala, they carved Kathakali figures, studied the text and shaped it to make it their own art form.  They did get a lot of encouragement and acceptance for this.

In the modern period, at least till the 1960s, Pavakathakali was very much alive.  Chamu Pandaram was a noted artist in the twentieth century.  A troupe from Paruthippulli village under the leadership of Chamu Pandaram travelled from household to household with their performances covering regions till the Purnathrayeesha temple in Thripunithura.   Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay who happened to see two such puppets in the museum in Thrissur first underlined the need to revive this art form.  She was instrumental in providing the impetus and support to revive most of the puppet forms inIndia.  Later, she entrusted Venu G to continue with research in this area.  Acharya Krishnankutty Pulavar, the leather puppetry maestro’s help was instrumental in getting to know that Chamu Pandaram and his troupe were in Paruthippulli village.

In 1972, with the help of the documentation officer Govind Vidyarthi of Sangeet Natak Akademi,New Delhi, the Paavakathakali of Chamu Pandaram was filmed in 16mm.  It can be said that this was the only documentation of Paavakathakali during that period.  In 1980, according to the suggestions of Kamaladeviji, there was an elaborate survey that Venuji undertook.  Then with the help of K.V. Ramakrishnan, the nephew of Chamu Pandaram, many puppets and other details were collected.  When the training programme for reviving Pavakathakali was initiated by the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1982, the main performers Chamu Pandaram and his colleague Velayudhan Pandaram had passed away.  Only K.V. Ramakrishnan, the son of Velayudhan Pandaram, K.C. Karuppan, K.C. Ramakrishnan, the children of Chamu Pandaram, percussionist V. Thankappan remained in the traditional family who could just about handle the art form.  But none of them had the expertise to make puppets.  Thottassery Narayanan, Kathakali artist and costume designer took it on himself to make the puppets studying the old puppets.  Six students were selected from Puthuppulli and Kodumbu villages for training.  Ravi Gopalan Nair was the student who studied the art of making puppets.

The overall responsibility of training was in Venu.G known for his knowledge of Kathakali and Pavakathakali.  The venue for training was provided by Vijnanakalavedi, the Chengannur based Kathakali Vidyalayam.  After almost one year, the venue was shifted to Natanakairali, Irinjalakuda. Since those students selected for training from the Aandi Pandaram family went for training in other professions, they were not available for Pavakathakali.

In 1984 when Venu.G choreographed the story of Kalyana Sougandhikam for Pavakathakali revived by Kamaladeviji, it was presented at the India International Centre,New Delhi.  Following this Duryodhanavadham, Dakshayagam and Utharaswayamvaram were also choreographed.   Pavakathakali had numerous stages inIndiaand abroad and became popular across the world.  At present, there is only a small troupe at Natanakairali to preserve this art form at present.  This troupe has at present K.V. Ramakrishnan, K.C. Ramakrishnan, Ravi Gopalan Nair, K. Srinivasan, V. Thankappan, and Kalanilayam Ramakrishnan.   With the national award from the Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi to K.V. Ramakrishnan and K.C. Ramakrishnan in 2011 and the Dakshina Chitra Viruthu award for Ravi Gopalan Nair, this art form has received a boost for its morale.

It is imperative to nourish and nurture a new generation in Pavakathakali.  This kind of working with art forms is not a way to earn one’s living.  Only those who have a regular job and can handle this art form simultaneously can properly train in this.  Rigorous training for at least six years is essential if one has to ably perform with rhythmic modulations and gain mastery over the art.

We have scheduled a programme from 3 -12, Dec 2011 with a fervent hope to attract public attention and also reach out to those who have an inclination towards Pavakathakali.     The programme will be organized retracing the steps to the times when Chamu Pandaram went around with his troupe.  The venues will include Paruthippulli, Kodumbu, Poomullimana, Kothara, Kulukkalloor, Kottakkal, Azhvancherimana, Tavanur and Irinjalakuda.  The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts has extended help to realize this venture and will also document the performances and workshops.  We earnestly hope that this second phase of activities for the revival of Pavakathakali will become an important milestone for its growth.

Detailed Itinerary will be posted shortly.