Kathakali was said to be 'the king of
arts' and 'the art of kings'. Kathakali which was known to be the typical
artform of Kerala has now become a global artform. Kathakali was developed
from 'Ramanattam' by famous kings like Kottayathu Thamburan,
Kathakali is an artform which gives primary importance to make-up.
Pacha, Kathi, Kari, Thaadi, Minukku etc. are the main
costumes of Kathakali. Pacha is used for aristocratic
and brave characters like Arjuna. KathiVesham is for
antiheros like Duryodhana, Ravana etc. KariVesham is
for rude characters like Kaataalan, Shoorpanakha etc. ThaadiVesham,
is divided into Chuvannathaadi, Vellathaadi and Karinthaadi.
Chuvannathaadi is for cruel characters like Dussaasana, Bakan etc. , Vellathaadi for Hanuman and Karinthaadi for
Kali. For Naarada and Vasishta, Maharshimudi and beard
is used. For female characters MinukkuVesham is used.
The word 'aattam' means acting. The situation
in which more than one character acts together was known as Koodiyattom
earlier. But now the solo performance of Chakyar on stage is known as
Koothu and the dramatic performance is known as Koodiyattoam. Chakyars,
Nambiars and Nangyars are the performers of Koodiyattom. Chakyars - to
act, Nambyars- to play the instruments like Mizhavu , and Nangyars- to sing .
Chakyarkoothu was a temple art
performed by Chakyars. Stories from Puranas were explained in this artform.
Chakyar koothu is a solo item. Nambyar plays the Mizhavu which makes the
enacting more communicative. Koothu is performed in the Koothambalams of
temples in front of a Nilavilakku.
Ottanthullal is a famous art form
of Kerala. KunjanNambiar is known to be the father of Thullal. There is a
story that Nambiar developed Thullal to wreak vengeance to Chakyar who
humiliated him on a stage. Ottan , Seethangan and Parayan are the three
forms of Thullal.
Mohiniyattam is an ancient art
form which originated almost 600 years back and was performed in the temples. It is performed only by women.
Sri Swathithirunal was the person who developed the art into today's
this art form the performer considers herself as the heroin and the
Lord Vishnu becomes the Hero. Dasiyattam' (as it was known earlier) was
developed and arranged to cholkkettu, Jathiswaram etc. of present
Mohiniyattam by dancers like Vadivelu, Chinnayya, Ponnayya. The steps in Mohiniyattam are slow.
The costume of Mohiniyattam is an off-white 'pudava' worn in traditional
Kerala style. The performance lastes for almost 2-3 hours. A singer would
sing and the instruments like Maddhalam, Kuzhithalam, Idakka etc. would be