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Consummate performer of female roles

K. K. GOPALAKRISHNAN

Kottakkal Sivaraman portrayed the transformation of Pingala.

Kottakkal Sivaraman, one the most celebrated Kathakali actors who portrays female characters in Kathakali, enacted the role of Pingala in a new attakatha that is also titled `Pingala.'

Organised under the aegis of Thrissur Kathakali Club, the 80-minute story that has great scope for ekaharya abhinaya, was choreographed by Sivaraman himself. This was the second time the play was staged. It premiered at Karalmanna (Palakkad), Sivaraman's native place, last December.

Sivaraman's characterisation was flawless. He captured the various emotions of Pingala as she travels from the depths of disappointments to the heights of spiritual bliss. He demonstrated the emotions of a variety of nayika bhavas, like vasakasajjika and lasya nayika.

Pingala is a character in the Bhagavatham.

The story of this courtesan is described in the 11th canto of the epic. The story depicts her transformation from a narcissist to that of a saint who realises that her beauty, wealth and admirers were all a kind of delusion that was keeping her away from the ultimate truth. She is drawn towards Lord Rama and becomes a devotee. Devotion leads her to spirituality.

Script in chaste Malayalam

Written by Namangalam Madhavan, the play was inspired by the poem of that name by the late Malayalam poet Ulloor.

The script, in chaste Malayalam, speaks eloquently about the psychological metamorphosis of a courtesan, who attains spiritual bliss, that too without the help of a guru. Kottakkal Madhu has composed the music with captivating ragas like Yadukula Kamboji, Anandabhairavi, Bihag, Sankarabharanam, Hindolam, Neelambari, Sahana, Syama and so on. He was also the vocalist along with Nedumballi Ramamohan.

Panamanna Sasi and Tripunithura Sasi supported on the edakka and the maddalam. The performance and the choreography, mark a new milestone in the artistic career of Sivaraman.

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