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    Kathakali -


    by neelaearth

    Chuvanna Thadi in Kathakali :
    Kerala owes a great share of its transnational fame to the nearly 300 year old classical dance-drama form, Kathakali which combines facets of ballet, opera, mime, masque and pantomime. Kathakali explicates events and stories from the Indian epics and puranas and is usually presented in the temple precincts after dusk falls and continues till the day-break. The art form demands nearly ten to twelve years of training and regular practice to perform on stage.

    The vesham or (make-up) for Kathakali is of great importance as the vesham itself speaks a lot on the identity, character and class of the character presented. The vesham symbolically represents five classes, Pacha (green) portrays noble protagonists, Kathi (knife) villainous, thadi (beard), Kari (black) represents low characters and Minukku (prettying up) women, sages, brahmins etc.

    This video is from the play 'Duryodhana Vadham attakkatha which tells of the murder of the villain (Duryodhana) of the epic Mahabharatha. The characters shown are Dusshasana in Chuvanna thadi and his elder brother Duryodhana.

    The thadi is of three types Chuvanna thadi (red beard), Vella thadi (white beard) and Karutha thadi (black beard). In Kathakali the most ferocious and cruel characters appear in Chuvanna thadi vesham. Usually Rakshasas (demons), Asuras (according to Indian mythology Asuras live on earth and represent evil and Devas live in heaven and represent goodness), and certain kings use Chuvanna thadi as they are all cruel and shrewd characters.
    Chuvanna thadi is the most horrorsome vesham in Kathakali. The size of the headgear is five to six finger-size larger than the size of the normal circular shaped headgears. Usually the actor screems or shouts to express certain emotions. A shouting Chuvanna thadi is the most terrifying of the Kathakali characters.
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