Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the 7th monthly Kathakali Appreciation Class

Mr Rajanandan-renowned Kathakali Commentator and Critic (in blue shirt ) explains how Kathakali artists 'verbalise' language and 'portray' stories using their bodies.

Rajeev and Kalamandalam  Manoj enact a scene

The gathering of rasikas at the 7th monthly Kathakali Appreciation class held on Sunday 8th Aug 2010 at Bhagavathikettu near Siva Temple, Tiruvannur, Calicut   

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Manavedan's 'Krishnageethi'-the story

composed his classic "KRISHANAGEETHI " in eight chapters, in the style of Jayadeva's (12th century Bengali poet ) GEETHAGOVINDAM. 
The Krishnanattam (a mosaic of folk and classic arts), a dance drama, has evolved from this Krishnageethi over 300 years ago. This work deals with the Krishna avatar - from Krishna's birth to his final emancipation from worldly life and ascension to heaven. It is presented in 8 episodes namely 'Avatharam', 'Kaliyamardhanam', 'Rasakreeda', 'Kamsavaddham'. 'Swayamvaram', 'Banayuddham', 'Vividha vadham', and "Swargarohana". These episodes are presented on eight consecutive nights. Since the last story is considered inauspicious, the "Avathara " always follows "Swargarohana" and it will be enacted on the ninth day.
 Also visit the following link:

krishnanattam by P K S Raja,Present Zamorin Raja of Calicut 
For a critical review of Krishnanattam pl visit:

Theatre and the world: performance and the politics of culture

 By Rustom Bharucha on Google Books
The story as depicted in the mural:
*Krishnagiti* was written between 1655 A.D. and 1658 A.D. by the then Zamorin Raja of Calicut , Manavedan. During this period, the renowned Vaishnava Sage Vilwamangalam Swamiyar and the Manavedan were staying at Guruvayur. Vilwamangalam Swamiyar was such an ardent devotee of Bhagavan Guruvayurappan that he could see Bhagavan in flesh and blood whenever he wanted.

Sree Krishna depicted as Guruvayurappan

Sanskrit Scholar and Poet , Manavedan Raja,  the Zamorin Crown Prince,
One day requested Bilwamangala Swamiyar to guide him in realising the Bhagavan.
Swamiyar replied that before committing anything he will have to consult Bhagavan Guruvayurappan and get his consent. The next day the Swamiyar told him that Guruvayurappan has given his consent and Manavedan can see Guruvayurappan playing in the early hours of the morning at the platform of the *Elanji* tree.
 When as per this agreement, Manavedan saw  Guruvayurappan in the form of little child Sri Krishna, he was so excited that he forgot himself and, rushed to embrace little Sree Krishna.
Guruvayoorappan immediately disappeared saying, "Vilwamangalam did not tell me that this will happen ". However, during the melee, Manavedan got one peacock feather from the head gear of Bhagavan Krishna.

King Manavedan became sad for the inadvertent discourtesy shown by him to Bhagavan Sri Krishna . As advised by Vilwamangalam Swamiyar, , he immediately went to the sanctum sanctorum of Bhagavan Guruvayurappan and pledged that with that feather of peacock, he will make a headgear , compose *Krishnagiti* in the form of a dance drama and dedicate it to Bhagavan.

A Moorthy of Sri Krishna was made using the wood of the `Eanji' tree. (The `Elanji' tree stood at the place where now, the Kuttambalam stands, on the south-east side of the sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayur Temple ). According to the advice of Vilwamangalam, Manavedan composed *Krishnagiti* sitting before that Moorthy with single minded devotion.

The peacock feather was incorporated in the headgear for the character of Sri Krishna. The headgear was found to suit the heads of all actors performing as Bhagavan Krishna. The actor also used to get 'possessed' on wearing this headgear.

Manavedan wrote *Krishnagiti* in eight cantos, and without any assistance did the choreography, all the costume make up including Krishna's headgear, facial make up, details of instruments for the background music and prepared the list of all and sundry articles required for staging the dance drama. He himself selected the artists for the *Arangetam* ( inaugural performance) and trained them to perform the dance drama. It is to be noted that the Arangetam of all the eight plays viz., Avatharam, Kaliyamardanam, Rasakrida, Kamsavadham , Swayamvaram, Banayuddham, Vividavadham and Swargarohanam were performed near the sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayur Temple. On the ninth day, Avatharam was repeated as the Zamorin felt that it was not auspicious to end the series with the demise of Lord Krishna. This practice of performing Avatharam after Swargarohanam is being continued to this day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Purappadu of Kashyap and Vaishnav

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=105346182827758&ref=nfWatch the video clip of Purappadu of Kashyap and Vaishnav -co-sponsored by Sangeethasabha Mankave during Nov-Dec ,Templefest 2009

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 7 at the Open studio of Murals

Last Sunday was a quiet day with most kids taking a break to attend the Geeta competition. It was for Rahul and Dr Reghuraj to complete the  yellow ochre and give the backdrop a touch of scarlet red.The Green also made its presence. Sasi Gurukkal attends to Priya a class 2nd student.                                    

Above is the humble bag that holds all the  acrylics,brushes,palettes,pencils,tissue and even a bottle of pre-boiled drinking water.
In the meantime,Pranav gets the chance to apply the wood-primer foundation on a 8 feet by 4 feet marine ply board.Rahul and Naveen watch on.

At the end of day 7 ( after about 50 man hours) the mural stands thus.
Its spring time, the trees are sprouting green leaves, the evening is crimson red.The lotuses are abloom.The music is in the air. May be another 150 man hours to go for the mural to come alive.
see you next week.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rahul' s murals

We give below a mural completed by Rahul:

Day # 6 at the studio

On day 5, the drawing is almost complete
and the team gets down to fill the yellow ochre.
Panini ,Rahul and Dr Reghuraj are at work on day 6.

 The boys leave to find out what's new on Rahul TR's ipod

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day#4 at Mankave Studio :Krishna & Gopis

Work on the new canvas continued today as well with Aathira and Panini getting down to the task of giving yellow ochre wash to the surface.They are just back from an hour long Karnatic music class at Tali,Calicut.

They are the students of Karnatic Vocalist  Tamarakkad Krishnan Nambootiri.
Today they sang two of Tyagarajas Pancharatnakritis :Jagadaananda... and Dudukugala...at the music class
Sasi Edavarad and Dr Reghuraj walk in a little after 10am.

Rahul TR ( left bottom corner) quit attending the art class and has now joined this group.He has   wonderful control on line and he is a quick learner.
Panini is mixing some red as Dr Reghuraj takes on yellow ochre wash.
Aathira's lil sister Aswathi drops in at 11 am to pull her out for the Sunday noon Abacus class. Anila is just waiting for aathira to finish. At the other end the red outline is being given over the pencil drawing

As the session continues, Dinakumari teacher joins the group. She is an arts and crafts teacher in a Govt school. She is joining the class after a long break owing pressures at work and home.She prefers to watch the proceedings for the day.

Rahul is nearing the finish line with his Hanuman.

The boys then disappear for a quick football game.

And its for Anila and Dr Reghu to persist and finish the colour mix in their palletes .They hate wasting paints.Its past 1 pm in the afternoon.Its time for Lunch. The BhagavatGeetha -Sanskrit class will begin in the same venue at 2 pm every sunday.

Kathakali Appreciation:a lec dem by Late Kesavan Asan in 2007

We give bring to you a few pics from our archives that feature the Lecture-Demonstration on Kathakali by Late Kesavan Asan:
Late Kesavan Asan who wrote the attakatha at the behest of Sangeethasabha based on Tyagaraja's Opera 'Nauka charitam', is seen here giving a lecture demo assisted by Kala.Pradeep.

 Kathakali brings together various traditional art forms like dance,painting ,music and the connoisseur gets a chance to appreciate features like  : the encryption of emotions , the decryption of textual nuances, colour, pure rhythm , you name it, kathakali has got it. our murals now attempt to freeze all that into one frame for posterity.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Mural Heritage of Calicut

The Padinhare Kovilakam Palace Complex of Mankave is home to some rare murals. While the complex itself is some 250 years old, the few surviving murals clearly belong to the mature phase in the evolution of Medieval Kerala mural tradition that began in 8th CAD and flourished till late 19 th CAD.
Featured below is‘Dakshinamurthi’ mural from the first floor of Vaikena Maaliga (The Study Hall) . 
Dakshinamurthi is a form of Siva facing south (Dakshina) and is depicted as teacher of Yoga, gnosis, music and giving exposition to the sciences .

(A Kinnera with a lute and lion-tailed monkeys and birds of paradise in an arboreal concert. The sweet music from the Kinnera’s lute and the appreciating sounds of the monkeys and the birds wafts softly as Siva holds forth to the sages around him.)

While the bottom half of this 80 sq foot exquisite mural has fallen prey to vagaries of time and defacement obscuring the features of main characters, the top portion comprising of the canopy of the tree under which Siva is seated and all its arboreal residents is still well preserved. The clarity and detail in depicting the mythical figures neatly
camouflaged amidst the foliage, is truly astounding. The well preserved and vibrant natural colours and pigments indicate that materials like powdered pearls and lapis lazuli, among others were used. The immaculate clarity and detail in capturing the nature’s bounty is unparalleled in mural history of Kerala..

Some historians attribute the decline of patronage to mural painting in Kerala to the Mysore Invasions (1766-1782), the ascent of the British and importantly, the emergence of Raja Ravi Varma as the leading exponent of Western mode of painting. But the recent trend of plastering wall spaces in temples with brass and copper plates, by rich and mindless devotees, erasing old murals is a great cause for alarm.
The ‘Dakshinamurthi’ mural of Mankave deserves to be restored and preserved. and its unique style and tradition of depicting nature ,flora and fauna, needs to be studied and documented.
-Sasi Edavarad, Mural artist , Calicut.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Mankave Idyll

Happy Republic Day .No school today.Panini and Rahul decide to work for a while on the new canvas with yellow ochre.They have Naveen for company, streaming music from a sony walkman, and centrefresh to chew on.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Progress on new canvas

Work on the new canvas continued today as well with Anila,Aathira and Rahul spending some time giving yellow ochre wash to the surface.Two and a half years after starting the Sunday Mural Classes, the Mankave Studio now has about twentytwo students on its rolls and they will take turns o complete works in the true spirit of traditional painting where individual artist stays anonymous and shares the painting surface with his her peers. This has been a good week. Three youngchildren sought to join the class.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Involving children and their families in Kathakali

Sangeethasabha has successfully tried to involve the children  from the neighbourhood and their families in the Kathakali performances.

The attakatha 'Santhanagopalam'  was first staged in Mankave in 2006 (see pic to the right).
Two of the children who took part later finished their basic course and performed purappadu in Dec 2009.Santhanagopalam was staged again in 2009 at Mankave.All the nine children and their families stayed up
till 2.30am , and enjoyed the performance.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A day at the Sunday Mural Class

Mural Class in progress.In the background is the 6 feet  x 4 feet mural depicting the story of Manavedan, a Sanskrit scholar and poet. It was dedicated/unveiled (Netronmeelanam-ceremony) on 1st Dec 2009 at the Manavedan Auditorium,Thrissala Bhagavathi Temple,Mankave.
Please visit the following link for pics: