Kathakali in Ghaziabad
May 10, 2005
When International Centre for Kathakali, New Delhi, whose troupe has performed in more than 80 major cities in 20 countries, performed in a small temple in Ghaziabad (U.P), the scenario was entirely different. There was no great stage, no hi-fi arrangements, no elite of the society. But it was a show true to its spirit, performed by the dedicated dancers in front of common people sitting on the floor of the temple to witness the exciting dance drama.
Showing religious compatibility, the temple complex in Brij Nagar has two adjoining temples - the south Indian temple dedicated to Ayyappa and the north Indian temple housing idols of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Hanuman, and Shivalinga. “We are celebrating ten years of completion of our temple,” said R K Pillai of Sri Ayyappa Puja Smiti. Explaining the concept of the two adjoining temples, Rajan said, “This way the north Indians learn about south Indian religious customs and vice versa.”
A tent erected
on one side of the adjacent road served as green room. A flexible electric
wire was extended and a bulb put there to provide light. A pedestal
fan was placed in a corner, but practically it could not be used since
the high air displacement created problems for the artists doing makeup.
Unmindful of such scanty arrangement, the dedicated artists worked for
about four hours to put makeup and get ready for the performance.
make up forms a high point of Kathakali performance. Each character applies
a different kind of makeup. For example, green is the colour for kings
and noble characters; those born in high families but having an evil streak
are depicted in green colour with red marks on cheeks; anger or excessive
evil is depicted with red makeup while devils apply black makeup.
Under the guidance of their guru Sadanam P V Balakrishnan, the humble artistes of the centre put up a highly appreciated show. Held on 30th April, it was a simple, down-to-earth performance, devoid of glitter but embodying the spirit of dance.
For the inhabitants
of the area, it was a good exposure to the colourful dance drama of Kerala.
The spectators included both north and south Indians and they watched the
spectacle with full concentration and interest with pin drop silence.
Thakur Paramjit is a writer and photographer based in Chandigarh.