Toranayuddham

“yaavat sthaasyanti girayah santah cha maheetale,

taavat raamayana katha lokesu pracharisyati…” Valmiki ( Bala Kanda, sarga 2 )

[As long as the mountains and even rivers flourish on the surface of the earth, so long the legend of Ramayana will flourish in this world.]

“yaavat sthaasyanti kudiyattam,

taavat raamayana katha lokesu pracharisyati..”,

That was how I felt after the Kudiyattam show that I attended today.  This particular piece was called Toranayuddham, from the Abhiseka Nataka ( Act III ) by Bhasa.

The act elaborates on how Ravana reacts to the destruction of Asoka Vana, Vibhisana’s advice to his brother and the argument between Ravana and Hanuman. The story is not new, but how perspectives change! Art can change history and the artist lives across time, I realised that today. The ancient epic came alive, the essence intact over multitudes of generations.

The dance had an unhurried feel to it, with the heavy costumes adding to the slowness.  Sanskrit verses were woven into the graceful moves, with the mizhavu and the edakka keeping beat.  It was amazing to see how different emotions were portrayed, with just symbolic representations. For instance, Ravana’s anger was shown with the help of flaming torches.  Ravana too, looked regal and absolutely beautiful! Why did he ever need ten heads to look grand, when all it took was a Kudiyattam performer to represent him!

I loved the scene where Ravana goes to Kailas and is awestruck with its grandeur.  Full credits to the actor for having brought it out in such simple yet effective gestures.

It has been a beautiful evening, and I am so happy. 🙂

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