The annual ‘pulikali’ carnival will be held here on Saturday amidst much fanfare. Thousands are expected to throng the Swaraj Round in the heart of the town to watch the pantomime and tableaux and immerse themselves in the colours of the carnival. Percussion ensembles will add to the gaiety as the ‘big cats’ make the way through the crowds.
The artists will mimic the tiger movements and engage themselves in a kind of crude belly dance, gyrating to the rustic beats of drums. The bouncing bellies give an impression that the ‘tigers’ are either roaring or scowling.
The ‘tigers’ often come in different colours - green, pink, orange, magenta and violet- to name a few. Painting a tiger is a cumbersome process as far both the artists and painters are concerned. The artists spend a whole night prior to the performance for their make-up. First of all, the dancers remove all hair from the body and then a base coat of paint is applied. Next, the second coat of paint is applied three to four hours later, with the enhanced designs.
The patterns used for body painting are a closely-guarded secret of the teams, said the artists. The preparations for the ‘pulikkali’ have started months ahead of the event. Most groups have as many as 41 dancers. Mylippadam, Veliyannur Desham, Navathara Kalasimithy - Poonkunnam, Padinjare Kotte Desham, Viyyur Desham and Poothol Desham are the six teams that are participating in the event this year.
The teams will enter the Swaraj Round through the fourain entries, Kuruppam Road, M G Road, Palace Road, and Shornur Road.
The show will be judged at four points including Paramekkavu Junction, Naduvilal and Naikkanal. Though the Corporation has increased its grant for the ‘pulikali’ teams from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 each this year, the Tourism Department is yet to announce the financial aid for the event.