To quote Terrence Mann, “Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich, but theatre will make you good” and this seems to be one of the most appropriate words that describe the undying passion of every artist. The Life of an artist is completely veiled behind the layers of make-up worn by them, the audience applauds and cheers for the emotions they reveal during their performances but seldom anyone wants to know and understand the gloomy journey behind these colourful faces.
India is a plethora of art forms and yet, there is a lack of appreciation. So many well-known art forms are getting diminishing over the period. With the boom of cinemas, Soaps, mega serials and web Series Theater seems to have taken a backseat. Well, the truth is that art comes to life in theatres irrespective of a million denials.
Though there has been a huge demand for classical art forms like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Odissi, etc… the folklore art forms like the Dollu Kunitha, Kinnari Mela, Thirayattam, Dhollu Kunita, Bhoota Aradhana are still not being popularized the way they are supposed to be done because folklore art forms are one of the simplest ways to understand the culture of the land.
Folklore is a blend of theatre, drama, songs, satire, and music and has been regarded as one of the oldest traditions to understand the culture. Folklore is transcendental as it is passed from one generation to the other seamlessly. Encouraging these beautiful art forms unlike the others becomes prerogative of every art lover because these are the roots for the birth of every other art form.
There are several auditoriums and theatres these days that are struggling hard to keep these art forms alive and one such place is Kappanna Angala. Located in the heart of Bangalore, this place is a small yet beautiful abode that gives confidence to artists and art-lovers by organizing several folklore events. The aim here is to spread the real meaning of art and culture to a large group of audience. There are several workshops that get organized here for both children and the elders.
As part of their “Tayiberu workshop”, the organizers efficiently managed to arrange a lot of folklore events for free and this was done in order to spread a word about the art forms that are moving towards extinction. Workshops on Thirayattam, Kinnari Mela, Karagattam, and Pattachitra were being held at the centre where a lot of theatre enthusiasts took active participation and benefitted out of it.
As part of the workshop and in order to bring awareness amongst the others, there were also shows being organized for free at the theatre. The famous artists from Kerala Sri. Pithambaran and Sri. Anjaneya Joshi from Sagara, Karnataka was invited to train the students at Kappanna Angala on Thirayattam and Kinnari Mela respectively as part of the Tayiberu workshop.
Thirayattam being the ethnic art forms of South Malabar is one of those dance forms that is performed in the sacred groves of some villages in Kerala. This is one of those performances where the artist would be seen with colourful face paints, attire that is extremely vivacious along with pulsating body movements. The dancer would be accompanied by a piece of loud and rhythmic music. The hand gestures, the movements and the postures of the dancer are solely dependent on the accompanists. The artist gets dressed according to the themes and the characters of the deity and performs at night in the courtyards called “Kaavukal” surrounded by torch lights. It is believed that the artist goes into a state of trance and become one with the deity while performing.
Some of the characters found in Thirayattam are the Nagakali, Rakteshwari, Bhagavathy, etc… The instruments used in Thirayattam are Brass bell, Chande, Thudi (small percussion instrument). The artist also uses some of the weapons like sword, royal-sword, an axe to depict the characters even clearly to the audience.
Kinnari Mela in contrast to Thirayattam is a pleasant melodious art form where the artist picks up a sequence from any of the mythological tales and narrates it using folklore songs. There are very light instruments like the taala and Kinnari Veena that are being used here.
Well, getting to know about our culture and heritage is very important because that is what connects us with the land where we live and cheering artists like these who are fighting against the oddities of the society just to keep these art forms intact are to be appreciated. Paying a visit to such auditoriums can give you a lot of learnings that are never to be forgotten. – Brunda Nagraj