Higher Education Minister R Bindu to retrace steps – in kathakali paint

Bindu will be performing under the guidance of Kalanilayam Raghavan Asan, her guru since she was 13. Raghavan Asan’s daughter Jayasree Gopi and Beena C M will play Damayanthi’s ‘consorts’.

Published: 07th April 2023 09:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th April 2023 09:04 AM   |  A+A-

Minister R Bindu performing kathakali at Calicut University Youth Festival during her college days. (Photo | Express)

Minister R Bindu performing kathakali at Calicut University Youth Festival during her college days. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is all about making the right moves, and Higher Education Minister R Bindu will be keen to retrace her steps to her college days.  

A winner of kathakali crown at the Calicut University Youth Festival five years on the trot in the late 1980s, she is all set to re-enact her favourite character, Damayanthi, on stage. The venue will be the National Music, Dance and Rhythm Festival being held in conjunction with the annual festival of the Thrissur Koodalmanikyam temple from May 2 to 12.

Bindu will be performing under the guidance of Kalanilayam Raghavan Asan, her guru since she was 13. Raghavan Asan’s daughter Jayasree Gopi and Beena C M will play Damayanthi’s ‘consorts’. Jayanthi Devaraj will join as ‘hamsam’ in the one-and-a-half-hour all-woman ensemble performance scheduled for May 7. Bindu plans to utilise the remaining time to brush up on her kathakali skills.

“The art form remains embedded deep in every artist’s mind...One just has to bring it to the fore and hone it further with proper practice,” she told TNIE.

Raghavan Asan will guide Bindu in bringing Damayanthi to life on stage with the same finesse that she displayed years ago. Bindu’s Damayanthi and Jayasree’s hamsam used to be a winning combination at youth festivals when group performances were introduced, he recounts. 

Minister hopes to inspire women with performance

“Bindu has an edge as she has been pursuing kathakali right from childhood. It has been part of her growth process, a sort of second nature. Decades ago, we shared the stage on a few occasions and I had seen the spark in her as a performer,” Raghavan Asan said.

Along with Bindu, hundreds of artists will be performing at a new venue, built by the Koodalmanikyam Devaswom adjacent to the temple premises. The temple courted controversy after a non-Hindu Bharatanatyam dancer was denied permission to perform at last year’s festival.

While donning the kathakali paint after a nearly three-and-a-half-decade-long break, Bindu chose the venue apparently to send out the message that art transcends religion and caste. The minister believes her performance would inspire numerous women like her who have had to take a break from their artistic pursuits due to various reasons.



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