Classical Theatre Festival 1997

(A Unique Kathakali Festival of Koottayam Stories)

09th Decb - 12th Dec 1997

Dear Art Lovers,

A unique festival of traditional theatre of Kerala is going to take place in Mumbai in early December. This festival will be devoted exclusively to four Kathakali plays, popularly known as Kottayam Stories, well known in the Kathakali parlance as the four flawless stories by the distinguished poet, composer Kottayath Tampuran (17“‘ AD). These are Bakavadham, Kalyana Sougandhikam, Kirmeera Vadham and Kalakeya Vadham, all taken from the epic Mahabharatha. These plays lend themselves to stage presentation involving every finer nuance of the Kathakali tradition.

In fact Kottyam Thampuran is reputed to have blazed a trail in the path of Kathakali’s progress as early as the 17"‘ Century by refining and redefining many of the practices that then existed. Even the name Kathakali is credited to be his creation. These four stories pose a real challenge to any Kathakali actor notwithstanding his stature or standing.

Even in Kerala today a four day festival is devoted exclusively on these stories is a rare event. In Mumbai this is the first such occasion.

It is important to see that such well structured and choreographed stories are alive in order to check the bad tendencies to dilute this kind of a classical art form. It is the need of this hour to revive and popularise the works like Kottayam stories to keep the original Kathakali theatre in a vibrant and vigourous state.

This festival has been made possible by the efforts of Keli, a Mumbai based organisation dedicated to the preservation, development and propagation of the traditional classical forms. Keli has in the past handled many aesthetic appreciation projects,presented rare event like Nangiar Koothu, probably the first and foremost classical women’s the atre, and several experimental works in many of the unknown or little known classical art forms.

This festival will held on the 9"‘, 10"‘, 11"‘ and 12"‘ of December, 1997. The participating artistes will include some of the most celebrated Kathakali actors, musicians of our time such as Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair, Kalamandalam Appukutty Poduval, Kalamandalam Gopi and others of equal eminence. During the Festival Keli proposes to honour and felicitate the 83 year old Kumaran Nair, with the presentation of a Veerashringhala (A traditional golden bracelet of appreciation). Shri Appukutty Poduval and Kalmandalam Gopi also, will be felicitated. Keli award for the promising artiste of the year will be presented to Shri Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan, a well known young chenda artiste. Other artistes are Kal. Madambi Subrahmaniyan Namboothiri, Sadanam Krishnankutty, Kal. Ramachandran Unnithan, Margi Vijaya Kumar, Kal. Haridas, Sadanam Bhasi, Kal. Gireesan, Kal. Babu Namboothiri, Kal. Hareesh Kumar, Kal. Prakash, Kalanilayam Mukundan, Kal. Nandakumar, Rajiv Vallathol, Kal. Satheesan, Kal. Sivadas, Kumari Kala Vikraman, Kanan Jani, Chitra C. Varrier, Smitha Das, Priya Kodanad, Rohini Unnikrishnan, Rama Tharakan, Appunni Tharakan, Appu and Costumes by Manjuthara,Vellinezhi.

The four day festival will be spread over 4 venues namely Y. B. Chawan Centre, Birla Kreeda Kendra, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Karnataka Sangh Hall.

Lovers of traditional as well as contemporary theatre are cordially invited for the festival.

Thanking you,

K. Subhaschandran, Project Co- ordinator
Ramachandran, Secretary, Keli
3142, Vibhag I, D N Nagar, J P Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai - 400 058

Day 1

9th December, 1997
at Y.B.Chawan Center, Nariman Point, 6.45 pm sharp


Felicitation: PresentingVeerashringhala (Traditional Golden Bracelet of Appreciation) to Shri. Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair by Shri. Shashi Kapoor
Felicitating Kalamandalam Appukutti Poduval, Kalamandalam Gopi, Sadanam Krishnan Kutty
Presenting The Promising Artiste of the year Award to Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan
Releasing The Audio Cassette sung by ' Shri. Palanad Divakaran & Shri. Athippatta Ravi


The Pandavas during the exile, as advised by Dhritharashtra, occupies the wax castle in Varanavatha unaware of the trap laid by the Kauravas. But Vidura, smelling the trouble, through a highly skilled Khanakan, arranges for an escapade, and the Pandavas make their way good into the forest. In the forest Bhima kills Hidumba. On advice of the Sage Vyasa, he marries Hidumbi. Later the Pandavas move to Ekachakra. There, Bhima kills Baka the demon, and gives relief to the people of Ekachakra, from their nightmare.

Day 2

10th December, 1997
At Birla Kreeda Kendra, Chowpaty, 6.30 pm


This story is derived from Vanaparva of Mahabharata. Outrageous and highly disturbed Bhima narrates how Kauravas cheated them at every chances and requests Yudhishtira to allow him to take revenge single handedly on Kauravas and make an end to their trauma. But Yudhishtira, pacifies Bhima and advises him not to get carried away by emotions and land into trouble.

Bhima relaxes in the forest with Draupadi, and shares some romantic moments with her. Draupadi, fascinated to a divine flower Saugandhika - express her desire to posses a few more, such flowers.

Bhima, to fullfill ‘wife’s’ desire sets out in search of Sougandhika, to the Mount Gandhamadana, and subsequently enters to divine forest called Kadalivana. There he fortunately meets with Hanuman, who happen to be his elder brother, being the son of Vayu. Hanuman recognising Bhima as his brother enthralled by his power and mettle, bestows him with blessings Hanuman on request of Bhima, also aggrees to guard the flagship of Arjuna, during the inevitable battle with Kouravas.

Day 3

Sunday, 11th December, 1997,
at At Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,Chowpaty, 6.30 pm


In this episode, we counter with Yudhishtira, who tries very hard to sail in the troubled water, in a highly depressed state of mind. He is extremely worried and disturbed for his inability to look after properly, his family and close aides. Here on the advise of sage Dhaumya, Yudhishtira decides to go for austere penance, and the delighted Sun offers Yudhishtira the divine vessel called Akshaya patra.

Lord Krishna visits Pandavas to enquire their welfare, on realising their miserable situation, looses his temper and deploys Sudarshana, to destroy Kauravas. Later on request of Yudhishtira, the Sudarshana was called back, and Krishna calms down. Later in the forest, demoness Simhika, to take revenge on Pandavas who killed her husband, camouflages in the attires of a beautiful lady called Lalitha, lures Draupadi out to the dense forest. Sahadeva on hearing scream of Draupadi in trouble, comes to the scene and defeats Simhika. Humiliated Simhika complains to her brother Kirmeera. Kirmeera arrives to destroy Pandavas but he gets killed by Bhima, instead.

Day 4

Sunday, 11th December, 1997,
at At Karnatak Sangh Hall, Matunga, 6.30 pm


The Lord Indra, after hearing his son Arjuna’s successfull mission in possessing the divine weapon called “Pasupatha” from Lord Shiva, wishes to see him, and deputes Chauffeur Mathali to bring Arjuna down to heaven.

Delighted Arjuna, along with Mathali, arrives in the heaven and get highly surprised to see the wonderful world of heaven. There in the heaven Urvashi, the incarnation feminine beauty, sees Arjuna and got fascinated. She approaches him with as request of love and desire. But Arjuna turns down her requests, because for him, Urvashi is like mother, as she is the lady of Indra. A highly frustrated Urvashi curses Arjuna to impotency. But Indra consoles Arjuna that this curse will be a boon for him during his forthcoming exile in disguise. Also Indra offers Arjuna plenty of divine weapons,from his stores.

On return, Indra asks Arjuna to eradicate the race of demons called Nivatha kavacha and Kalakeya those who always made the life of heaven disturbed. Arjuna, a highly skilled warrior,wipes out both in a terrific encounter.

Our Sincere Thanks to:

ANZ Grrindlays Bank, Lawkim Limited, Prithvi Theatre, NCPA, Y. B. Chavan Centre, Bharatiya \/idya Bhavan, Birla Kreeda Kendra, Kamatak Sangh, Nayar Samaj, Clea Advertising & Marketing Ltd., Mehli Mistri, Vijay Crishna, X. K. Marker, Sanjna Kapoor, Shaji N Karun, K C Narayanan, Mathmbhoomi, N R Gramaprakash, Kalakoumudi, Unnikrishna Kurup Dinacharana Comittee, Pisharody Samajam, \/arrier Samajam, Samanuaya, Dombivli, All Artistes.


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