KOCHI: Dressed in nomadic attire, the Kakkalan and Kakkathy who arrived on stage singing, received a round of applause. There is music around. This was a scene from the Kakkarissi Natakam, a unique form of musical drama which was organised by Sagara Kalasamithy at the Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan .
M Susheela, secretary, Sagara Kalasamithy said, “The premise of the drama revolves around an incident where Lord Siva and Parvathy visit the earth in the form of Kakkalan and Kakkathi, a nomadic tribe.”
The kalasamithy which has been active for around 20 years has 10 members. The amateur theatre organisation has been staging musical plays and folk performances, giving more importance to the ancient folk art of Kakkarissi. However, the form of dance drama had to undergo many changes, from its ancient form. “We had to bring in many changes in the dialogues so as to make it easy for the audience to understand,” she said.
The organisation plans to stage another performance as part of the Onam celebrations at Kanakakkunnu grounds soon.
C V Kumar, who directed the musical play said, “Kakkarissi Natakam, which is originally from Tamil Nadu, has become part of our folk art. Our aim is to try and popularise this half-a-century old form, which is dying. We have been performing the musical play in many venues in the citym” he said.
Kakkarissi Natakam is a satirical dance-drama based on the puranic legends of Lord Siva and his consort Parvathy and Ganga when they assume human forms as Kakkalan and Kakkathi - a nomadic tribe of fortune tellers. The legend only serves as a skeletal framework for the play, which often turns into a subtle critique of contemporary society. The language is a blend of Tamil and Malayalam. The chief characters are Kakkalan, Kakkathi, Vedan, Velichappadu, Thampuraan and the ubiquitous Jester. The Dholak, Ganchira, Chenda and the Harmonium provide the background score.More popular in the southern regions of Kerala, Sundara Kakkan, Kakkathis, Vedan etc. are the main characters.