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International Kathakali & Koodiyattam Festival to be staged in Dubai this weekend

Monday, November 26, 2018/ Editor -  

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Running for the 12th consecutive year, the three-day festival will feature a number of legends performing a panoply of classical art forms, traditional Kerala ethnic percussions and vocal renderings.

DUBAI – November 26, 2018:  Celebrating the ancient and highly structured classical performing arts from South Indian state of Kerala, the 12th edition of Utsavam 2017 - International Kathakali & Koodiyattam Festival (IKKF) will be held in Dubai this weekend coinciding with the UAE National Day celebrations. Entry is free to the event. 

Under the aegis of the Consulate General of India in Dubai, the prestigious indigenous art forms of Kerala will be staged from November 30 to December 2, 2018 at HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein Theatre, Gems Wellington High School, Sheikh Zayed Road, organisers said.

Over a decade ago, a group of art lovers passionate about Kerala’s classical fine arts came together with the intent of presenting them to enthusiasts in UAE. That was the start of the International Koodiyattom and Kathakali Festival (IKKF) in Dubai to showcase Koodiyattam, a 2000-year-old theatre officially recognised by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity, and Kathakali, the vibrant ballet-like dance drama noted for its dramatic make-up, elaborate costumes and detailed gestures. 

Thanks to the unwavering commitment of the volunteers, the encouragement of enthusiastic spectators, and the support of sponsors and patrons, the festival has grown in scale and magnificence over the years. Acclaimed artists such as Padmabhushan Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair, Padmashree Kalamandalam Gopi, universally acknowledged as doyens of the dance form, have graced the festival with their performances in the past. 

This year, the Kathakali acts have been chosen with the intent of representing the golden age of the art form from 17th to early 19th century. Each of these plays are very distinct, emphasising a different sensibility of Kathakali. 

Day 1 begins with Keli, a traditional percussion ensemble featuring a Maddalam and Chenda artiste supported by a Thaalam artiste followed by Govardhanodharanam, a Nangiarkoothu performance by Kalamandalam Krishnendu. Thereafter, Kalamandalam Balasubramanyan will enthral the audiences in the highly anticipated Nalacharitham Randaam Divasam supported by Kalamandalam Vijaykumar, Kalamandalam Hari Nair among other talented artistes. The day ends with the inauguration ceremony at 8 pm followed by a Single Thaayampaka performed by Cherpulassery Rajesh. 

Day 2 kicks off with a Koodiyattam (Jatayuvadham – Part 1) performance. This is followed by Thoranayudham, a Kathakali act with Kottakkal Nandakumaran Nair and Kalamandalam Balasubramanyan depicting the roles of Hanuman and Ravanan respectively. The day ends with another Kathakali act namely Kiratham at 5:30 pm with Kalamandalam Hari Nair enacting the role of Kattalan and Mayyanadu Rajeevan that of Arjunan. Finally, a single thaayampaka will be performed by Ottappalam Hari at 9 pm.

The final day begins with the second part of Jatayuvadham. The two Kathakali acts being performed on this day are Ravanavijayam – Rambhapravesham followed by Dakshayagam with Kalamandalam Balasubramanyan headlining as Dakshan. The festival concludes with a double thaayampaka performance and the closing ceremony. 


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