Kerala,Keralachat,Malayalam,Malayalam Music,Keralam,India,KeralaVoiceChat,Kerala Map
Kerala,Keralachat,Malayalam,Malayalam Music,Keralam,India,KeralaVoiceChat,Kerala Map
Kerala,Keralachat,Malayalam,Malayalam Music,Keralam,India,KeralaVoiceChat,Kerala Map
Kerala,Keralachat,Malayalam,Malayalam Music,Keralam,India,KeralaVoiceChat,Kerala Map
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Thullal presentation generally lasts two hours and are rendered at a pitch and pace that keep onlookers thoroughly gripped. The dancer dances and sings simultaneously and this entails a long period of rigorous training, an agile body and a communicative voice. The dancer must also be gifted with a sharp memory, for he must remember long poems some of which have over 1000 couplets. The emotions pertain mainly to valour, humour, pathos, anger and devotion. Sringara, the erotic element, is virtually absent, but is rarely missed, for the burden of the songs and the nature of the dance are hardly conducive to tender passions.

In make-up and costumes, Thullal has the traces of colour and the gorgeousness of Kathakali. The face is painted with yellow arsenic mixed with blue. The eyes are blackened and lips reddened. The dancer wears a breast-plate adorned with golden pearls, necklaces and colourful tassels. The white waist clothes resemble skirts. The head-gear is small, made of light wood, studded with bright stones and decorated with golden paper. The bracelets, amulets and waistlets are almost the same as in Kathakali.

Thullal is of three kinds: Ottan, Parayan and Seethangan. The distinction between them lies mostly in the make-up and costumes and to some extend in metres and ragas of the text. Of these Ottan Thullal is the most popular.

In recent years, there have been many efforts to rejuvenate interest in Thullal, both as a literary form and as a performance. Some 30 years ago in Malabar, Raman Nair, a gifted performer, did much to improve the Thullal art. Kerala Kalamandalam, a leading training centre for Kathakali and related arts has for some years included Thullal dance in its curriculum. Time has effected improvements in the Thullal performance. It has now become a popular entertainment in the cultural programmes.


A rich and flourishing tradition of dance drama can be witnessed in the picturesque state of Kerala, a narrow strip of beautiful land running along the west coast of India. Here, in the night, the drums roll, beckoning an audience to a most magnificent spectacle. Kathakali, a well-developed dance-drama, is a performance where the actors depict characters from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and from the Puranas (ancient scriptures). The dancers adorn themselves in huge skirts and head-dress, wearing a most intricate style of make-up.

Kathakali draws heavily from drama and is danced with elaborate masks and costumes. Kathakali recitals are generally long and while other dance forms are more emotive than narrative, Kathakali is both. It combines dance with dialogue to bring myth and legend to life in the temple courtyards of Kerala. The dancers use their stunning costumes and make-up, with the accompaniment of drums and vocalists, to create various moods and emotions.

So strong is the identification of the dancers with the characters they play and so absolute their conviction, that they seem to surpass themselves, becoming one with the legendary heroes and heroines they depict.

Present day Kathakali is a dance drama tradition, which evolved from centuries of highly stylised theatrical traditions of Kerala, especially Kudiyattam. Ritual traditions like Theyyams, Mudiyattam and the martial arts of Kerala played a major role in shaping the dance into its present form. The great poet Vallathol rediscovered Kathakali, establishing the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1932 which lent a new dimension to the art-form.

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