Kathakali Celestial Dance

Shows: Chalandri, 25 and 26 July, Ioannina, 29 July
Workshops: Tzoumerka, 28-31 July

The Hellenic-Indian Society for Culture and Development (ELINEPA) in co-operation with the Indian Embassy in Athens and several municipalities and cultural centers  organize cultural events to promote a better understanding of the ancient and modern  Indian traditions in Greece.

This summer ELINEPA has invitedwith the kind support of the  Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the world renowned Kathakali troupe of Kalamandalam Nair Raman Kutty to present popular stories from the great Indian epic – “Mahabharata” according to the following program:

A) 25 and 26 July 2008at 9.0p.mTwo shows in co-operation with the Aetopoulio Cultural Center of the Municipality of Chalandri during the  Rematias Festival 2008 at the open Euripides Theater Rematias, Chalandri. Ticket 5 Euro.

Β29 July 2008at 9.30 p.mOne show at the open theater Frotzou of the Society of Ipiros Studies in the city of Ioannina.

C) 28-31 July 2008Workshop: Indian dancemakeuptherapy music and rhythm at theForest Village of Cedaras part of the Tzoumerka Art Festival 2008.

ELINEPA invites all its members and friends to participate and propagate the above programs. For those who are interested to attend the recital in Ioannina and participate in the seminars at Tzoumerka Art Festival, ELINEPA has organized, in co-operation with the  Cedar Forest Village,  a package of eco and cultural holidays in the heart of the national park Tzoumerka – Arachthos.

kathakali afisa 


This world-renowned classical dance form emerged in the middle of 16th century at theSouth Indian State of Kerala. The word Kathakali literally means “story play” as it explicates events and stories from the Indian epics and mythology with an unparalleled array of colour, music, drama and dance.


Primarily Kathakali is a dramatic art, a ballet, an opera, and a pantomime in which the actors interpret their ideas and emotions through a highly sensitive medium of gestures, picturesque hand-poses and vivid face expressions intelligible even to the uninitiated. Τhe gestures are supported by related expressive movements of the body and the eyes. The most unique aspect of this form of art is its elaborate make-up code, which also serves to identify the nature of a character.


Kathakali integrates several forms of art, each complete in itself like dance, drama, literature, music both vocal and instrumental – and the plastic forms drawing and painting and sculpture. The orchestra of a Kathakali performance includes two types of drums called Chenda and Maddalamaccompanied by cymbals (Elathalam) and gong (Chengila). Usually two singers render the vocal support with songs, sung in a style known as Sopanam.   

Read also:  A NOTE IN KATHAKALI by Prof. Vayala Vasudevan Pillai, Kerala University.

kathakali brochure


(1) Kalamandalam Kutty N Raman  : Troupe leader cum Artistic Director

(2) Mr.Thiruvattar Jagadishan           : Performing Artist

(3) Ms. Remya R Kutty                    : Performing Artist
(4) Master Rajish R Kutty                : Performing Artist
(5) Kalamandalam V B Sreekumaranunni : Vocal Musician
(6) Kalamandalam Unni Krishnan     : Percussion Instrumentalist (Chenda)
(7) Kalamandalam N C Ramdas        : Percussion Instrumentalist (Maddalam)
(8) Rajani R Kutty                             : Make up (Chutti)



(Program presented by the group)

 Scene :1  Arjuna: Arjuna sets out towards the Himalayas tο dοpenance tο propitiate Lord Shiva. He sees Mount Kailash, the home οf Shiva, and is enraptured by it. He is soon engrossed in deep meditation.


Scene :2  Hunter and Huntress (Κirata-Kirata sthree): Lord Shiva is pleased with Arjuna’s tapas (meditation combined with selfmortification, carried out with the object to propitiate Gοd in order tο obtain a boon from Him). But he wants tο test him before granting him his wishes. Having disguised himself as a hunter (Kirata), he sets out with his wife Parvati, disguised as huntress (Kirata sthree), accompanied by a few impish ghosts (bhutas). After they have admired each other’s disguise, the hunter tells the huntress of his plan tο fight Arjuna in order tο test his skill and his valour. The huntress objects, and wants Arjuna tο be granted his wish without delay. The hunter then tells her that he has a purpose in his plan tο fight Arjuna tο subdue his pride. She agreed tο the idea, and they proceed tο the place where Arjuna is doing penance (tapas).


Scene :3 .Arjuna, Kirata and Kiratasthree: Arjuna is engrossed in penance. A bear which is in fact a demon (Mοοkasura) deputed by Duryοdhana (the eldest of the Kauravas and the arch rival of the Pandavas) tο kill Arjuna, attacks him, but at the moment the hunter and huntress appear on the scene. Arjuna sees the bear coming and shoots an arrow at it; the bear is killed, but the hunter is provided with an opportunity  tο pick a quarrel with Arjuna fοr shooting the animal he was after.


The worldly duel soon leads tο a fight, but when Arjuna does nοt heed her words, she curses him that his arrows will be turned into flowers. Despite this, Arjuna still persists so the huntress curses him that there will be no more arrows in his quiver. Seeing that his quiver is empty, Arjuna tries tο beat up the hunter with his bow, but the goddess Ganga (who resides in Shiva’s hair) snatches the bοw away from him. Frustrated, Arjuna tries tο fight the hunter with his bare hands but the mighty hunter easily overcomes him and he is thrown tο the ground.


The hunter and his wife, pleased with Arjuna’s performance, move away, Arjuna slowly recovers from the blows and begins tο worship Shiva again, offering whatever flowers and leavesfinds: suddenly he discovers that the hunter’s hair was decorated with his flowesand he realises with whom he has been fighting. He asks the hunter tο pardon him.


Scene: 4  The hunter and huntress disappear and in their place stand Shiva and his wife Parvati. Shiva presents Arjuna with divine arrow Pashupatha. Parvati hands tο Arjuna the bοw, which Goddess Ganga had taken away in the fight. They both bless him.




King Arjuna:  Shri Thiruvattar Jagadishan

Kirata (The Hunter): Shri Kalamandalam Raman Kutty

Kiratasthree (The Huntress): Kumari R Remya

Lord Shiva in true form: Master R Rajish

Lordess Parvati:  Kumari R Remya


2nd Story




This play tells the story of two of the most important events of the Mahabharata—the banishment of the Padavas after their defeat by the Kauravas in a game of dice, and their triumphant victory over the Kauravas many years later on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

The Kauravas’ hatred for their cousins, which became intense when Dharmaputra conducted the Rajasuya sacrifice, reached a climax when Duryodhana and his brother were laughed at by Bhima during their visit to the Pandavas’ palace at Indraprastha.  The Kauravas insidiously prevailed upon Dharmaputra to gamble in a game of dice, his opponent being their wicked uncle Sakuni, who had loaded the dice.  In the course of the game Dharmaputra lost everything—his army, his palace, his wealth and his kingdom.  He then staked his brothers one by one and finallyt his wife and himself.  Again he lost, so the Pandavas all became slaves to Duryodhana.

Duryodhana orderd his younger brother Dussasana to fetch Draupadi into the open court and disrobe her, but he did not succeed because she prayed to Krishna and her cloth became endless.  For this insult Draupadi cursed the Kauravas and would only stop cursing when Dhritarashtra, the blind father of the Kauravas, agreed to free the Pandavas.  At Dussassana’s request another game of dice was played at which whoever lost was to be banished to the forest for twelve years, after which they would have to spend one hear in disguise:  if they were recognized during that year, they would have to go back to the forest for another twelve years.  The Pandavas again lost the game, and were exiled.

After the completion of the thirteen years, the Kauravas were still unwilling to restore their share of the kingdom to the Pandavas.  Krishna pleaded with them in vain.  Finally a war which lasted for 18 days was fought at Kurukshetra.  To enmable Bhima to fulfill the vow made by Draupadi at the time she was insulted by Dussassana—that he would avenge the insult by drinking Dussassana’s blood—Krishna gave him special powers.  After a fierce fight, Bhima floored Dussassana and drank his blood.  He then summoned Draupadi to the arena and wiped her hair with his blood-stained hands. (When Dussassana dragged her into the Kauravas court she had vowed that her hair would remain disheveled until the insult was avenged.)

Scene 1 Krishna and Radha: Appearance of Lord Krishna with his wife Radha (Romantic scene, Krishna plays his melodic flute)


Scene 2 Krishna and Draupadi: Lord Krishna consoles Draupadi, the beloved wife of Pandavas,  not to negotiate with the Kauravas as war is the only means for avenging her humiliation from the rufiant Dushasana, the younger brother of king Duryodhana, who disrobed her in open court, after the defeat in the deceitful dicegame.  Krishna warns Draupadi that his peace mission with Duryodhana will be a failure as Duryodhana is determined to destroy the Pandavas.


Scene 3 Dushasana: The evil character of Dushasana


Scene 4 The Killing of Dushasana: Appearance of Raudra Bhima in the battlefield of Kurukshethra.  On seeing Dushasana the furious Bhima looses his patience.  Both the warriors fight with each other and Bhima taunts and reminds of the insults and humiliations that has been heaped upon his wife Draupadi.  On this the mighty Bhima goes into a frenzy of rage and assumes the form of a fierce man-lion (Narasimha).  After the furious battle Dushasana is defeated .  Bhima rips Dushasana open and drinks his blood.  Draupadi enters and Bhima rushes to her, sprinkles  blood on her hair, binds her hair with the entrails.  Thus Draupadi’s curse is fulfilled.  At last, Lord Krishna appears and the animal frenzy which has driven Bhima to such excesses subsides.  Then Bhima resumes the form of the man.  He falls at the feet of Lord Krishna who blesses him.

C   A  S  T

Draupadi (Wife of the five pandava brothers)   :   Kumari Remya R Kutty
Lord Krishna                                                   :   Shri Thiruvattar Jagadishan
Dushasana                                                       :   Master Rajish R Kutty
Raudra Bhima (The ferocious man-lion)            :   Kalamandalam  Kutty N Raman


Kalamandalam Kutty N Raman,  46:  Senior Actor and Artistic Director οf the Κathakali troup. Jοined Κalamandalam as a student at the age of 13 and trained for 10 years with famous Gurus like Padmabhushan Κalamandalam Raman Κutty Nair, Κalamandalam Gοpi, Κala Vijayan, Κalamandalam M.P.S. Nambοοdiri andΚalamandalam Vasu Pisharodi. Ηe is one οf the tοp ­ranking and versatile Κathakali Artists today. Recipient οf many awards including Vazhengada Kunchu Nair Smaraka award frοmKalamandalam. He has toured widely thrοughοut India and abroad tοpropagate Kathakali and Indian Culture.


Thiruvattar Jagadishan, 41: An excellent Κathakali artist presently working in the International Centre for Κathakali, New Delhi. He was trained under veteran Gurus like Late Shri Chengannur Raman Pillai, Madavοοr VasudevaNair, Padmanabhan, LatePadmashree Κalamandalam Krishnan Nair, Enchakkad Ramachandran Pillai, and others. His masterpiece roles in Κathakali are pacha, kathi, etc. Ηe has made worldwide tours on many occasions.


Κurnari R. Remaa, 18: Disciple οf Kalamandalam Κutty N Raman and ThiruvattarJagadishanShe is a budding and talented classical dancer with expertise in Κathakali,Κuchippudi, Bharathanatyam, etc. and has been selected fοr the Cultural Talented Search Scholarship fοΚathakali from C.C.R.T. (A Ministry οf Culture Department). She has  performed many programmes in Delhi, Κerala, Udaipur, Hyderabad, etc. with the troupe and with the International Centre fοΚathakali.


Master R. Rajish,  18: Disciple οΚalamandalam Κutty N. Raman and Shri ThiruvattarJagadishan. He is a talented Κathakali Artist and his masterpiece roles are the evil charactersοf Dussasana, Βakasura, and others. He has been selected fοr the Cultural Talented Search Scholarship from CCRT since 2004. Ηe has performed many Κathakali prοgrams with the troupe and with the International Centre fοΚathakali at various places in Delhi, Κerala, Udaipur, etc.


Κalamandalam V. B. Sreekumaranunni,  49: An outstanding Κathakali musician trainedfrom the premier Κerala Kalamandalam under veteran Gurus, like ΚalamandalamGangadharan, Neelakandan Nambeeshan, late Shri Ramu Wariοr, and others. He has a vastexperience in Κathakali performance, teaching and demonstrations and toured widely within and out of the country.


Kalamandalam Unni Krishnan,  64: He is one of the top ranking Κathakali Chendapercussionist οf today and at present the Principal οf the famous International Centre fοrΚathakali. He made several tours abroad tο propagate Indian cultural heritage. An experienced percussionist and disciple of Κalamandalam Chandra Mannadiar and Late Shri Κalamandalam Achunni Poduwa1.


Κalamandalam C Ramdas, 44: Trained in Κathakali Μaddalam playing (atraditional barrelshaped drum with two heads), from Kerala Κalamandalam  at the age οf 12 under veteran Gurus like Kalamandalam Narayanan Nambeeshan and Late Shri Κalamandalam Appukutty Pοduwal, and others. At present he is the professo οthe faculty of Μaddalam in the varsity οΚerala Kalamandalam Academy. An outstanding percussionist οfΚathakali Μaddalam and the famous panchavadyam. He has made several foreign tours with and without the famous Kerala Kalamandalam troupe.


Κalamandalam V Siva Rarnan,  47: Is an excellent Κathakali make-up and ornamentationArtist and at present a Professor in Kerala Kalamandalam in the faculty οf Chutti and Make-up. He was mastered in Chutti and makeup from expert Gurus like Late Shri Kalamandalam Gοvinda Wariοr and Shri Κalamandalam Ram Mohan, Shri Gοpala Pillai and othersΗe has made wοrld wide tours on innumerable occasions with and without Κalamandalam.


Rajani T, 36: An experienced Kathakali Chutti and Make-up Artist. She gοt proficiency in the field from the famous Guru Shri Κalamandalarn Κunji Krishnan οf the International Centre fοr Kathakali, New Delhi. She performed many programs in and around Delhi and Κerala.



A State Academy of Fine Arts founded in 1930 by the late Great Poet Padmabhoosan Vallathol Narayana Menon along the banks of the  Nila River in the Trissur District of Kerala State. The Premier and World famous Dance Institution is strictly a residential center fo learning of various classical art disciplines including the Illustrious ΚAΤΗAΚALI DANCE .Artistteachers and talented students participate in art shows held in and out of Kalamandalam.




The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of Independent India.

ICCR is about a communion of cultures, a creative dialogue with other nations. To facilitate this interaction with world cultures, the council has strived to articulate and demonstrate the diversity and richness of the cultures of India, both in and with other countries of the world. The council prides itself on being the pre-eminent instrument of cultural diplomacy and the sponsor of intellectual exchanges between India and partner countries.