Enchanted by Nangiarkoothu
Corrina Oshokh's deep interest in Nangiarkoothu helped her understand the essence of the art form.
NANGIARKOOTHU, AN offshoot of Koodiyattam, is considered to be one of the oldest classical art forms of Kerala. It was performed exclusively by women, and its solo performance could be considered as a complete theatre for women. Only `Nangiar,' the wife of `Chakyar' could perform this art form, which was once considered to be part of the rituals in a temple. The acting manual was in Sanskrit.
Painkulam Ramachakiar, who was the Head of the Department in Kerala Kalamandalam, was its most famous exponent.
Later, like Koodiyattam, this art form too went beyond the walls of temples. Since then, women from other communities have also started performing Nangiarkoothu. It has also attracted students from other countries.
Recently, a Nangiarkoothu performance by Corrina Oshokh, from Poland, at Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram, stood out for its adherence to the traditional style. It was her arangettam. She had spent six months studying the art form under Margi Sathi.
Corrina had taken up Nangiarkoothu after seeing a performance by Margi Sathi in 2003. She was then on a visit to Kerala after finishing her postgraduate course in theatre from the University of Warsaw in Poland.
Immediately, she returned to Poland seeking a scholarship to learn Nangiarkoothu. Although she got a scholarship for studying `Kalaripayattu,' she managed to attend classes in Nangiarkoothu as well. Corrina is also well versed in Indian art forms and Sanskrit.
Corrina performed `Sita's purappad,' a piece from `Sriramacharitham Nangiarkoothu,' written and choreographed by Margi Sathi. The one-and-a-half-hour-long performance was noteworthy in several aspects. She evocatively portrayed the scene of Sita sitting despondently in Valmiki's ashram. Corrina portrayed the conflicting emotions that flit through Sita's mind with immense maturity and beauty.
Expressing happiness and satisfaction on Corrina's performance Sathi said: "I am quite happy. She took a great deal of effort to study this art form and present it in such a great fashion." Her thalabodha was accurate and a talent rarely found, Sathi added.
It is Corrina's passion for the art form that is the underlying factor of her success. Margi Ramanunni, Margi Mohanan and Subrahmanina Potty were the percussionists for the programme.
Photo: S. Mahinsha
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