In any extremely advanced artwork kind, the theme is extra typically not subservient to the shape. Kathakali is not any exception. This might be the explanation why many new performs are seldom staged once more after being premiered. But Kathakali playwrights hardly appear to be disillusioned. Manoj Pulloor, who hails from a household dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Kathakali for over a century, not too long ago composed a play titled Saundaryalahari on the lifetime of Sankaracharya. However the title has nothing to do with Adi Sankara’s well-known literary work.
Though the intention of the play is to focus on the ascension of Sankara to Sarvajnapeeta after defeating scholar Mandanamishra from Midhila, the dramatic occasions (in accordance with a vernacular model) that precede kind the theme of Saundaryalahari.
Unfold over eight scenes, it begins with the entry of Amaruka, the king of Kashmir along with his consort, Manjarika. Within the succeeding scene Mandanamishra visits the king to share his apprehensions concerning the younger saint Sankara, from south India, making an attempt to defeat his opponents and attain Sarvajnapeeta. Mandanamishra tells him that his spouse intervened within the debate he had with Sankara by elevating a query about Kamasastra, of which the latter hardly knew something. Sankara requested for a 12 months’s time to familiarise himself with that department of information and, due to this fact, the controversy discontinued. The indignant king assures Madanamishra that he would annihilate the younger saint’s ego.
Within the third scene, the king conducts a Mruthyumjayahoma (a ceremony to elongate the lifespan) led by Mandanamishra. Earlier than its completion, Amaruka falls down useless. Sankara then reaches Kashmir accompanied by his disciples. He asks the palace rajaguru to make preparations for his or her keep to have the option see the physique of the deceased king. On seeing the corpse of the king, Sankara tells his disciples to safeguard his physique, since his soul would transmigrate into the king’s physique. King Amaruka wakes up a lot to the amazement of his spouse and others within the palace. Amaruka, who’s reborn with the soul of Sankara now requests his consort to show him all about Kamasastra. Quickly the king discloses that he’s really Sankara, who will quickly quit this physique to enter his personal. Thus continues his journey to realize Sarvajnapeeta.
The primary half of the play by which Amaruka describes the fantastic thing about his consort carries the tone and texture of Kathakali. Kesavan Kundalayar, the proficient actor, within the facial make-up of the villainous character, was extraordinarily expressive. Kalamandalam Sajan as Manjarika tried laborious to be average in his actions and expressions. Kalamandalam Manoj as Mandanamishra carried out inside the attribute parameters of Kathakali and his interplay with the king was persuasive. Within the latter half, Peesappilly Rajeev, an imaginative actor, performed Amaruka bearing the soul of Sankara, which was no imply job. Rajeev introduced this duality convincingly. Right here Sajan as Manjarika did go somewhat overboard at occasions.
Apparently, Sankara’s presence within the play, seen from an aesthetic angle, was inconsequential. Therefore Vishnu Vellakkad, who donned the function of the younger saint, in newly designed costumes doesn’t deserve any particular point out. Whereas Vengeri Narayanan, the vocalist, supported by Sarang Pulloor and Sreedevan Cherumittam, sang the slokams, dandakams and the padams impressively, Kalamandalam Balasundaran on the chenda and Biju Attupuram on the maddalam contributed significantly to energise the actions and feelings of all of the lead characters. The lyrics penned by Manoj Pulloor had been lucid and simply understandable. Kalamandalam Sajan, who choreographed the play for the Kathakali stage, has taken a certain quantity of liberty in emotionally increase the characters of Amaruka and Manjarika, particularly within the latter half. The play was carried out on the Changampuzha Park in Edappally.
If prudently edited, the length of the efficiency can simply be diminished to 3 hours which would offer extra depth to the textual content, contexts and characters of Saundaryalahari. Whether or not the play could be added to the repertoire of Kathakali, time alone can inform.