AN AESTHETIC FALLOUT!
by C P Unnikrishnan
I have been observing Kathakali on and off the stage for the past four decades and a half. Being a stage performer and a teacher of Life Science, I have been watching the course of Darwinism in our globally renowned art form. Has it evolved?............!
In the Kalari, (where teaching and learning take place) the rules of elakiyaattom are strictly adhered to by a serious teacher and students are taken to heavy task, if erred, even by unforeseen chance. Where does it vanish, when it comes on to the stage? Of course, ‘Very Senior Characters' (Aadyavasaana Kathaapaathrm) are allowed to judiciously omit some of them to ensure that the bhaava is not obliterated. But, it has become a contemporary practice that any character, at the discretion of the actor, can skip the specified elakiyaattom. The argument that the prime stress must be on the elucidation of the ‘vyabhichaari bhaavas', does not suggest the freedom to dilute or reject the stipulated techniques of abhinaya.
If the connoisseurs, critics and lovers of Kathakali are keeping quite, the soul of this form will soon merge with the eternal and hence invisible. Aesthetically, this fallout is more dangerous than a nuclear one. I, in all humility, appeal to all lovers of Kathakali, not hesitate to come forward and arrest the devolution. A rejuvenation therapy is urgently called for.