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Published: August 11th 2012
Ever since I have watched clips of India in the Lonely Planet, I was amazed by this classical cultural dance known as Kathakali Cultural Dance performed by actors in colorful make-up, costumes and their tradition culture. The thought of this constantly rolling in my mind that I told myself I have to see this great performance. At least this once in my life time instead I saw this twice in two straight nights. On the first night I was in fourth or fifth row and I was not happy because I could not take good picture, so I booked for the second night to have the middle seat on the front row, being the only Chinese in the theatre sounds like President Mao came to see the show.
Kathakali Cultural Dance originated from Kerala state, India in the first half century of the 17AD. Stories from Hindu epics like Ramayana, Mahabhratha and the Bhagavata are being taken for the Kathakali performances and it is usually performed in the temple during the Hindu festival.
This theatre is known as Kalamandalam Mudra Kathakali Center.
The title of this play is Narakasura Vadha (The Murder of Narakasura), a story from Bhagarath
Purana with characters of Jayantha (Son of Lord Indra), the demon lady is Lalitha, a beautiful form of Nakkrathundi. Jayantha is played by Shiju Kumar on the first night, while the other actor who played the same role on the second night is Pacha. The Lalitha is played by Ranjith. (See him in Blog “A Personal Photography Session with the Artists”)
The story is about Lalitha, a maiden slave to the Demon King Narakasura, was told to leave for heaven to kidnap the handsome green face Jayantha. She changed her demon look and disguised as Lalitha to befriend with Jayantha, trying her very best, dance joyously and seduce this handsome hero to be her husband. Jayantha asked her to reveal her true identity, but she kept seducing him with lustful desire. Jayantha told her he will never marry anyone without his father’s consent. Jayantha became very angry and told her to leave the palace. She told Jayantha she is here to kidnap him in her true identity, Lalitha and tried to catch hold of Jayantha. She went berserk and let loose her hair in agitation. Jayantha became very very very furious, he drew out his sword and cuts off
her ears, nose and breast leaving her screaming in pain and returned to Narakasura. At the end of the performance Jayantha danced in lordly character and then left the palace to inform his father about the incident.
Musical Instruments used is the Chenda, Maddalam, Ilathalam
The hand Mudras, face and eyes expression were simply marvelous and the costumes they wore were so colorful and graceful when they dance and swirled around the stage. It was a superb performance I ever seen.
Their performance was once listed in the Lonely Planets. Last year they were invited to Taiwan to perform with the Chinese Opera Group, a collaborated performance and last month they performed in Europe. Their good reviews were never exhausted.
I had a great time, I have a photo with the actors together to share and I hope you will get to visit and watch their performance when you get there. Once or twice, it is worth your money. Trust me. www.mudraculturalcentre.com
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