The charm and rhythm behind Mappila art forms in Kerala

Arts festivals are not just students’ affairs. There are some ‘big men’ who follow their passion and work on the backstage amazingly

Published: 22nd January 2017 05:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd January 2017 05:17 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KANNUR: Perhaps this man will make you aware of the amazing workload a human being can bear. Muneer, 36, hailing from Thalassery, has a hectic schedule at the state school arts festival venue with his 16 teams from across the state. These teams hailing from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargod, contest in Mappila art forms including Oppana, Vattappattu and Duffmuttu.

Madhavan giving final touches to one of the
students before their performance on
Saturday | T K Swaroop

This is not the first time he is coming to arts festival with myriad teams. He had 15 teams last year as well. “I don’t remember myself coming to the festival with less than 10 teams in the near past,” said Muneer, who started his journey 20 years ago.

“I used to participate in Oppana (now it is being called vattappattu) during my school days. Our team bagged first prize in the state-level competition when I was in class X. Next year, I formed a team with my juniors and trained them for the contest. When they bagged first prize at the state-level, I realised that it was my path ahead,” added Muneer. Subsequently, he established a Mappila art training institute in Thalassery.

Muneer mostly get his disciples from southern and Central districts, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Thrissur, and Palakkad, where Mappila art forms are less popular. His fame spread as his team from Lake Ford School, Kollam, bagged first prize in Oppana at the CBSE arts festival consecutively for the past six years.

It is not just training, Muneer also composes songs and steps for Oppana and is planning research in Mappila art forms. Once the school arts festival is over, he will be busy with inter-collegiate arts festival. “I can’t relax after the competition as the university arts festival will begin soon,” said Muneer.


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