Tuesday, August 7, 2012



Koodiyattam is an ancient Sanskrit Dance Drama prevailing In Kerala and it holds a  history of   more than 2000 years .In very old texts of the 
'Sangha' period and in  some other old texts  also mention of   'Koodiyattam' are found and   in epigraphs of Pallava,Chola and Chera periods details of this art form are seen.Some believes that it was originated in Kerala while some are of the belief that it was originated somewhere in South India only and not sure about the exact place of origin.A Chera King Kulasekhara Varman redefined Koodiyattam and also wrote two plays and staged them with the help of a Brahmin friend 'Thola'.Subhadraharana and Tapitisamvarana are the plays written by him which are staged now a days also.
Koodiyattam is Sanskrit dance drama which are written and played in accordance with the 'Natya Sastra' of Bhasa.The rules and regulations of Indian Theatre are written in detail in a  book by an ancient play writer 'Bhasa' and it was followed throughout India.The requirements for Sanskrit dramas according to the text are accomplished and rules also by Koodiyattam.In north India  and other parts also  with the decline of Sanskrit language 
Sanskrit Drama were all ceased where as in Kerala it still exists as in the form of Koodiyattam.The stories used for dramas for Koodiyattam are from  Hindu religious texts 'Ramayana' Bhagavatham' "Mahabharatha' etc.Several eminent writers wrote Sanskrit plays from stories taken from these texts and some famous plays used are " Subhadraharana, Kalyana Sougandika,Nagananda,Abhiseka,Pratima" etc.
Koodiyattam male characters were manifested by males of 'Chakyar community' of Hindu religion and female roles were played by females of 'Nambiar' community(Nangiaramma) of Hindu religion.The Koodiyattam dance drama was given a supremacy position and was permitted only in Temples.There were separate buildings in temple compounds to stage 'Koothu' and  'Koodiyattam' known as 'Koothambalam' which can be seen today also in all important temples of Kerala.
In India, only in Kerala exists a dance drama which follows the 'Natya Sastra'
even today and it is 'Koodiyattam'.
The actors recite the 'Sanskrit' slokas and scripts by themselves where as 
percussion of " Mizhavu, Edakka, Kurum Kuzhal,Kuzhithalam and Sanku"
 are provided by others.
The pot like instrument 'Mizhavu' is played by the community males of 'Nambiar' and Females of that community portrays  female roles  in the play.
The make-up and costumes of Koodiyattam are much elaborate and we can 
understand that 'Krishnanattam' and 'Kathakali'  influenced by Koodiyattam  and accepted many of such  
costume and Make up.
This art form emphasises the accomplishment of  'Natyam'(Acting and uses face expressions)'Nritham'(Dance),'Geetham' (songs) and 'Vadyam'( music by percussion instruments) all with equal importance.
Up to 1950 Koodiyattam was played only in temples and an exponent of Koodiyattam 'Mani Madhava Chakyar' took courage to take this art form outside temple yard.He and his troupe performed it at Madras in 1955 and later it was staged in centres like Bombay,New Delhi,Ujjain,Varanasi,Bhopal,Madurai etc.It was performed in New Delhi in the years 1964,66,74,79 and 83.In some other places also it was performed for more than once.As per the invitation from The President of India, Dr.S.Radhakrishnan it was played at Rashtrapathi Bhavan in 1964 and received accolades.Mani Madhava chakyar choreographed and directed plays like "Abhijnana Sakunthala,Vikramorvashiya,Malavikagnimitra,Swapnavasavadatha" also.
This art form is recognised by UNESCO as Masterpiece of the oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The name Koodiyattam Combined dance-drama) might have given to this art form because both Nambiar and Chakyar community are involved in it.Some think that more than one character are always on the stage and hence the name.
It is now taught to any community members and can be staged any where in the world.Kerala Kalamandalam conduct classes for koodiyattam and 'Margi' in Thiruvanathapuram is another famous institute in this regard.
During the temple festivals, performance of 'Koodiyattam' was a compulsory item in Kerala and the rulers in Kerala always gave much importance to it.

Koothu is an art form of Kerala in which the Stories related to Hindu texts such as "Bhagavatham,Ramayanam and Mahabharatham" are narrated in an attractive manner to the audience with the accompaniment of musical instruments by others.Stories are told in an elaborate way mixing songs sung in between and comedy stories are also included to make the audience cheerful.Males of 'Chakyar' community performed 'Koothu' and the main percussion instrument 'Mizhavu' was played by males of 'Nambiar' community.Females of Nambiar community played cymbals.Now any community members  who are trained in musical instruments and those trained in 'Koothu' can perform this art form.The story teller wear special dress designed for this art form and wears a special headgear and  have facial and body painting.

No comments:

Post a Comment