Kathakali is a famous art form of Kerala whose glory reaches to huge distance.
The founder of the Kerala Kalamandalam, poet Vallathol Narayana Menon had decided to incorporate girls as students in its “vesham” course in both northern and southern kalari forms. This was a revolutionary change.
Later, the girls outnumbered the boys resulting in 3 girls and 1 boy opting for the course.
The head of the Vadakkan style or northern style of Kalari, Kalamandalam Suryanarayanan told IANS: “Five girl and a boy were admitted to the course and classes have started since Wednesday. Girls are participating with much enthusiasm and I find them performing exceedingly well.”
The characters of women were enacted by men in the very dance form. But a wide range of change is expected after a pool of girls got admitted in the same.
One of the doyens of Kathakali , who has a unique style for himself and has fans across the globe, Padmasri Kalamandalam Gopi who is also on the advisory board of Kerala Kalamandalam, told IANS: “I had given a suggestion to admit girls for Kathakali course in an experimental basis. This was accepted by the board and we have commenced classes for girl students. If other similar art forms of Kerala like Ottanthullal and Koodiyattam can have girl students, why not Kathakali?”
After getting admitted for the vesham course, the students can drag their career up to post-graduation starting from class 8. This is applicable for both northern and southern styles.
Noted art critic and writer Rajani Varrier told IANS: “It is indeed a revolutionary decision by the Kalamandalam. If women can perform and excel in all fields, why not in this? Girls will prove in the days to come that they are masters in the art and the feminine characters if played by women will have more natural flair than men enacting it.”
(With inputs from IANS)