Kutiyattom - Kailasodharanam
Kailasodharanam Kutiyattam by Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri is an absorbing piece of drama from the epic Ramayana, in which the mighty demon King Ravana encounters Mount Kailasa and the ensuing events culminating in a curse that ends his life at a later stage.
Kutiyattam is an artistic tradition that goes beyond 2000 years. It is the only ancient form of Sanskrit theatre, which has kept alive its vibrant tradition till date. Sometimes it takes 40 days to enact a full play in Kutiyattam. The creation of the present form of Kutiyattam is ascribed to Kulasekhara Varma Cheraman Perumal, an ancient King of Kerala.
Kutiyattam is recognized by the UNESCO as one of the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
Strictly a temple art, Kutiyattam was performed by the Chakiyar community supported by Nambiars and Nangiyars, the women folk of Nambiar community. This Sanskrit theatre got its name due to the combined performance of Chakiyars and Nangiyars. The only musical accompaniment used earlier was Mizhav, a percussion instrument played by Nambiar men. Of late, Edakka, Sankhu and Kuzhithalam are also being used besides Mizhav. Kutiyattam is usually performed in a Koothambalam, which is a specially designed theatre attached to major temples. Koothambalams are built according to the traditional texts on Vaasthusaasthram Silparatna.
Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri
Kutiyattam maestro Sivan Namboodiri stands out for his remarkable dedication, relentless determination and an all-encompassing love of the art. He joined Kerala Kalamandalam in 1965 to learn Kathakali. But instead, he was destined to learn Kutiyattam, which was an unknown art form for him. He learnt Kutiyattam under Painkulam Rama Chakiar. It took him 10 long years to master this art form.
He has many firsts to his credit. He is the first non Chakiyar to learn this art form. He is also the first candidate of institutionalized training in Kutiyattam. Till 1965 Kutiyattam was taught only in a rigid gurukula tradition. He is also the first male performer of Nangiarkoothu till then dominated by Nangiars. He is also recognized for introducing certain innovations regarding the use of costumes and musical instruments in this age-old art form.
In 1975 he joined Kalamandalam as a faculty of Kutiyattam. He is also working as the visiting professor at the School of Drama (University of Calicut) since 1980. Apart from teaching, he has given many performances in India and abroad. He has also many awards to his credit. Sivan Namboodiri had won the gold medal for best Kutiyattam artiste for three consecutive years from Margi’s (Thiruvananthapuram) Saratholsavam. He has also won the first Mrinalini Sarabhai Award (1999) for the most outstanding Indian artiste and the Kerala State Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He also has the prestigious certificate of appreciation from the Smithsonian Institution, Washington. He is hailed as second only to the grand old man of Kutiyattam, Ammannur Madhava Chakiyar.