Theatre Futures Menu

A – Kathakali – General

A1  Masque of Malabar
A documentary study of Kathakali, showing the training of students, the make-up, the costumes and 10 minute extracts from two plays. Everything filmed on location in Kerala at various times in various places between 1969 and 1974.
16mm film original (43 minutes)

Full credit list of artists in each scene of Masque of Malabar available as downloadable PDF »

“Although I had filmed short bits of Kathakali at various times between 1954 and 1970, 1 didn’t make a documentary from them until after I retired from my work in Kerala in 1971. The film was therefore not scripted in the way films usually are, and when I made it in 1972 I had to make the “story” out of whatever material I had taken home with me, on 100ft reels, each lasting a little under 3 minutes which, after editing, I spliced together and put onto a 1,800ft reel lasting 43 minutes. This was long before the advent of video, and in those days it was impossible to record sound at the same time as filming: the sound had to be recorded separately on a reel-to-reel tape recorder and then dubbed onto the film by having a magnetic stripe put an one side of the original film, on which I later added sound effects and a commentary. This was then copied onto an optical sound track in a laboratory. When video came in, the original 16mm film was copied onto Betamax and VHS cassettes which, 35 years later, I have copied onto this DVD.

As some people who saw the original film considered it to be too long, and too technical, for a general audience who didn’t know anything about Kathakali, in 1975 I re-edited it into a shorter (20 minute) film (Malabar Masque) which won 26 awards in International Amateur Film Festivals in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Malta and France, where it won the “Coupe de Casino Palm Beach” in the Cannes Film Festival of that year.

Everything in the film was shot and recorded in Kerala, apart from the music on the 10 minute précis of the two plays at the end of the film (Kalyanasaughandika and Duryodhanavadha) for which I recorded the drumming and singing in May 1972 when they were being performed at the Aldwych Theatre in London, by the FACT Udyogamandal troupe as part of the World Theatre Season. Each play lasted about 2 hours which I had to reduce to 10 minutes and fit the sound as nearly as possible to match the action on the film.”

David Bolland

A2  Malabar Masque
An edited version of Masque of Malabar made for general audiences, which received 26 trophies and awards in international amateur film festivals in 1975/1979.
16mm film original (20 minutes)

List of awards made to David Bolland for Malabar Masque available as downloadable PDF »

A3   Kathakali in the 1950s
Filmed in Kottakkal, Trichur and Calicut between 1953 and 1957. Brief scenes include appearances by Kunju Kurup, Krishnan Nair, Ramankutty Nair, Gopi, Padmanabhan Nair.
16mm silent film original (30 minutes)

Full credit list of artists in each scene available as downloadable PDF »

A4   Training of students (1)
Kathakali students training at the Kerala Kalamandalam in (8mm) and 1983 (VHS) and at Kalabharati Kathakali School (Pakalkuri) in 1989.
Video 8 original (48 minutes)

A5   Training of students (2)
A walk round the kalaris of the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1991 to see students being taught Kathakali, Kutiyattam, Ottanthulal, Mohiniattam and Bharatanatyam.
Video 8 original (60 minutes)

A6   Training of students (3)
A detailed account of one morning’s training of Kathakali students at PSV Natyasangham, Kottakkal in 1999, showing eye, body and feet exercises and massage (uzichil): recorded and described by Kottakkal Sasidharan, who was a student at Kottakkal 1962/1970.
Video 8 original (1 hour 51 minutes)

A7   Chutti (make-up) (1)
Members of the Kerala Kalamandalam senior troupe making up for performances in Paris in 1983 (VHS), and teachers & students of Kalabarathi Kathakali school making up in Pakalkuri in 1989.
Video 8 original (41 minutes)

A8   Chutti (make-up) (2)
P.S.V.Natyasangham teachers and students making up for a performance in a Kerala village in 2002, recorded and described in English by Kottakkal Sasidharan.
Video 8 original (1 hour 30 minutes)

A9   Melappadam (single)
Filmed in Paris in 1983
Chenda         Kalamandalam Krishnankutty Poduval
Maddalam        Kalamandalam Appukutty Poduval
Music          Kalamandalam Ganghadharan & Kalamandalam Subramanian
VHS original (10 minutes)

A10   Melappadam (double)
Filmed in Mannam Mapillai Hall, Kottayam in April, 1987
Chendas          Kalamandalam Kesavan
                           Sadanam Vasudevan
Maddalams     Kalamandalam Apukutty Poduval
                           Sadanam Sreedharan
Music               Kalamandalam Unnikrishna Kurup
                           Kalamandalam Krishnankutty
VHS original (53 minutes)

A11  Puruppadu (1)
Filmed in Mannam Mappilai Hall, Kottayam, April 1987
Actors            S.Bhagyanathan
                        Harish Kumar
VHS original (37 minutes)

A12   Puruppadu (2)
Filmed at Vallatol Nagar, at the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1991, June 1991.
Actors            Kalamandalam Ravikumar
                        Kalamandalam Krishnakumar
Video 8 original (35 minutes)

Total playing time of General items: 9 hours 38 minutes

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