KOCHI: Three youngsters from the Thiruvananthapuram are giving a new dimension to the art of Kathaprasangam. The trio has been associated with the art of storytelling since their childhood days. And now, as youngsters, they dream of reviving the art and regaining its past glory.
The youngsters are all ecstatic, having received a diamond jubilee fellowship instituted by the Culture Department for Kathaprasangam. Since their childhood days, Anandhu CS and his sister Megha GS have been performing on stage and bagging awards. With the addition of Suraraj Kumar K to the family - after his marriage to Megha - they have become a force to reckon with, and are surging forth with the larger aim of popularising Kathaprasangam and making it mainstream.
They hope to remodel the art of storytelling and to capture the imagination of the youth and elevate it to the same stature it enjoyed in the late 1970s and 1980s.“The lack of interest in Kathaprasangam amongst the youth is quite apparent. When we perform, the crowd is mostly the older generation. With many other means of entertainment, the youth is not that keen to listen to Kathaprasangam,” says Anandhu, who is interning at the District Collector’s internship programme.
The idea is to reinvent and bring innovations into the art. The youngsters have a bevvy of ideas up their sleeve for this. A larger part of their time is spent ideating on ways to give a fresh spin to the art of storytelling. “What the likes of Kedamangalam Sadanandan and V Sambasivan have done through Kathaprasangam are phenomenal. With the proliferation of different mediums of entertainment, Kathaprasangam as an art has fallen out of favour among the youth. By being creative and innovative, it can be revived,” says Megha, a grade B artist at the All India Radio.
The idea is to offer the Kathaprasangam in a three-part series, with each of the artist taking over the narrative after the other in one session. “We need to infuse a lot of new ideas. I normally interact with the crowd while rendering the Kathaprasangam. My sister’s rendition is laced with music while my brother is great at rhetoric. Bringing all these into the same platform will make the Kathaprasangam more interesting and lively,” says Anandhu.
“The fellowship is all about popularising the art among the students and training them. We intend to reach out to more students through it,” says Suraraj, a media person. “We have to bring in a host of innovations to make it appealing to the youth. In the older times, Kathaprasangam used to be the larger medium to connect with the masses and bring in social changes. By bringing several innovations, we can bring the youth also into the fold.”
They believe that although the art form is not as popular as it was in the olden times, it can be revived and there is much interest shown towards it during school fests. “Kathaprasangam has immense possibilities. It is the ideal weapon to bring about social change and that is what we are trying to do,” he adds.