Kerala's Temple Art Forms Safe in His Hands - The New Indian Express

Kerala's Temple Art Forms Safe in His Hands

Published: 21st January 2014 09:56 AM

Last Updated: 21st January 2014 09:56 AM

The future of traditional Sanskrit theatre and performance art forms in the state can be considered bright if one counts the disciples of Painkulam Narayana Chakyar, an exponent of these forms and a guru par excellence, at youth festival venues.

The ongoing state school festival in Palakkad is witnessing participation by 217 of his disciples, trained at Painkulam Rama Chakiyar Gurukulam, in events like Koodiyattom, Patakam, Chakiarkoothu and Nangiarkoothu.

A traditionalist, Narayana Chakiyar is a stickler for details and personally sees to it that the ‘chutti’s of the contestants are perfect and match the roles they are about to essay.

In the 1991 youth festival, Narayana Chakiyar had with him only a four-member team. The growth in popularity of these performance art forms since then has been spectacular. In the 53rd youth festival held in Malappuram the number of participants under his mentorship went up to 193 and all of them went on to secure A grades, he said.

“This year I have with me 12 teams with seven members each in the high school category and 14 teams with seven members in the higher secondary level,” says Chakiyar, a recepient of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka academy award for his contributions to Koodiyattom.

Narayana Chakiyar says that there is a feeling that the interests of the students in learning these art forms are ephemeral and would end with the participation at the youth festivals. “But this was not true with my disciples. Most of them stick to the art and it is the disciples who assist me,” he said.  According to him, the youth festivals help in reaching out to a greater audience and will also help the revival of the temple art forms of Kerala. 

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