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The other important traditional dance drama is Kathakali which has its roots in Kerala. It had been a very popular dance form in the mid-seventeenth century,drawing influences from a variety of other performance traditions. Traditionally, men played all roles, but women train and perform in contemporary troupes. The main content of their performances is taken from our epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Bhagavata Purana. These are performed on the temple grounds, as well as in private and public areas. They conveyed the essence of the stories through dance, singing, hand gestures,  facial expressions, and eye movements. This performance aspect is developed through years of extensive training. Costumes and makeup play an important role in this dance form, as they identify characters, and bring focus to expressive areas of the body creating another worldliness appropriate to other characters and stories and providing extravagant spectacle against a minimal set.

Kathakali combines devotion, drama, music, costumes, and makeup into a divine experience for all who get to view it. retells the great stories from our epics of the past, leaves one spellbound at various elaborateness involved in the performance.

Every single vibration of the lips, flickers of the eyes, and movement involving the fingers twirling has a great significance. The dancers involve themselves in the characters they play and make the audience spellbound and can’t take their eyes away from the spectacle taking place on the stage.

Another important aspect of kathakali is costume and makeup. A huge ornamental headgear is called ‘Kiritam’ and kanchukam¬† ( oversized jackets)and a long skirt worn over a thick padding of cushions. The artists completely immerse themselves and the audience into the story they are describing.

Pacha or green makeup portrays the noble protagonist.

  • Kathi( vesham) which is . for Superhuman monkeys like Hanuman.
  • A red beard symbolizes evil characters and a black beard for hunters.
  • Kari ( Black)
  • Kari vesham is meant for she demons.
  • The minukku vesham is used for female characters and sages

Kathakali orchestra is formed of two types of drums – the maddalam and chenda; the chengila which is a bell metal gong and the ilathalam or symbols. Kerala’s most popular dance form is Kathakali. The name literally means story -play.” It is well-known for its make-up and costume designs. Typically, they depict stories from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and other Puranas. Kalamandalam Gopi is one of the most well-known Kathakali dancers. He has a three-decade career behind him. The coveted Sangeet Natak Academy Award was conferred upon him.