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    Kathakali Make-up -


    by neelaearth

    Kathakali Make-up
    Kathakali, the classical dance-drama of Kerala, is based on mythological themes. Mythical characters like the Devas, Asuras (the residents of heaven and earth representing good and evil, respectively), apart from some bird and animal characters can be represented only in larger than life, superhuman dimensions. In Kathakali, the make-up creates the superhuman effect.
    It takes nearly three to four hours to complete the make-up which is done in stages, and the duration varies according to the character and complexity of the costume.
    Theppu is the first stage where the artiste himself applies the basic facial paintings. On this the Chuttikkaran (make-up man) puts the Chutti which forms the second stage of make-up.

    The Chutti plays a crucial role in differentiating the characters and their personality and has the following basic classification:- Pacha (green), Kathi (knife), Thadi (beard) and Kari (black). To know more about each, see Chuvanna thadi in Kathakali .
    All the colours used in the make-up are obtained from natural substances and herbs. For example, the red and yellow colours are made by powdering stones like Chaayilyam and Manayola respectively. A mixture of lime and rice flour serves for white. The green colour is produced by mixing Manayola and Neelam (blue). Coconut oil is used as the base for mixing these stone powders. Another stone, Chenchilyam is powdered and applied in order to protect the skin from burns. Kanmashi or Kajal (the black substance) is prepared by burning gingelly oil. Kumkumam or saffron is also used for the make-up. However, now-a-days many of these colour mixing processes have been replaced by easily available material like paper pulp etc.
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