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Honouring ritual arts


The inauguration.

THE DIFFERENCE was very evident. Unlike all other meetings of the same genre, the commemorative session on Mani Madhava Chakyar, organised by the Kerala Kshethra Anusthana Kalavedi at Thripunithura, started with a performance.

It was the 103rd birth anniversary of the master, who along with Parameshwar Chakyar and Ammannur Madhava Chakyar, created the great lineage of teaching in Koodiyattom. So the idea to start the celebrations with a Chakyar Koothu only enhanced the beauty of the get-together.

The function was inaugurated on Sunday was with the sounding of the `mizhavu' and then entered the young Chakyar, Vineeth V. Chakyar. Much of the success of a Koothu depends on the creativity of the Chakyar. In that sense, the boy may not have been able to perform the Koothu, exploiting its potential to the fullest. Humour and satire in Koothu are incidental, which the Chakyar treats as the licence to digress from the topic and make a comment on his milieu. Here, the youngster seemed to come up with pre-conceived comments and jokes.

Still, the move to bring him on stage could be seen as symbolic. He had to perform before many senior artistes, who were waiting to be honoured as part of the event. Artistes present included Moozhikulam Kochukuttan Chakyar (Kudiyattom), Elamana Hari (Puranaparayanam), Puliyanam Parameswaran Nair (Ottan Thullal), Chendamangalam Ramakrishna Panicker (Patakam), Thripunithura T. K. Kesavankutty Nambiar (Theeyattu), R. L. V. Radhakrishnan (Kathakali), Leela Brahmaniyamma (Brahmaniyammapattu), Chakkinikattu C. G. Balan Menon and also Vineeth and Annie Susan Babu who had been the latest entrants into Chakyar Koothu and Thullal.

The Kerala Kshethra Anushtana Kalavedi, formed in August last year, is an organisation that aims to work for the conservation of ritual arts and upliftment of artistes.

The function also marked the inauguration of the district unit of the Kalavedi.

This was a positive step in recognising and acknowledging artistes who have spent their entire lives in practicing and performing ritual arts which now are being relegated to the backyards of society's collective memory. That single aspect gave this meeting an individuality, as the Ombudsman for Local Self-Government Institutions, K.P. Radhakrishna Menon, noted in his inaugural address.

By Anand Haridas

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