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C – Kathakali Choliyattam

Kathakali plays are normally performed without rehearsal by actors who know the full range of the repertoire. Each performance varies on the initiative of the actors as they work in performance with other performers and musicians. As part of the training however, actors memorise closely choreographed sections of the plays. These pieces are called Choliyattams, and unique recordings of fifteen of these are form part of the Collection.

In Malayalam, the language of Kerala, Chollu means “speak” or “sing”, Attam means “dance” or “play” in action. Choliyattam, combining both, is the word used for the training of actors under the guidance of a teacher (guru) when they learn to perform a play, accompanied by the music of singers and drummers.

In his A Dictionary of Kathakali (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1979) the late K.P.S. Menon described Choliyattam as “Rendering a padam in angikabhinayam with the kalashams laid down by tradition at a rehearsal: set choreography: grace and excellence in an actor’s attam”. A padam he described as “musical composition in three parts addressed by one character to another”, angikabhinayam “dramatic expression with body postures and hand gestures”, kalasham “a dance composition punctuating the three parts of a padam during a performance, and attam as “performance of Kathakali: the art of dramatic expression through words, facial expressions or gestures”. K.P.S Menon advised on the selection of material for recording.

In these recordings made at the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1985 the late Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair, guru, and Kalamandalam M.P.Sankaran Namboodiri, former Principal of the Kerala Kalamandalam, perform the Choliyattams of well known Kathakali plays.

C1    Ambarisha Charitam
From the play by Aswati Tirunal Tampuran (1756-1794)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair)
Chenda……………………..Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayanan Nair
Music………………………..Madambi and Bhavadasan
VHS original (15 minutes)

C2    Bakavadham – Lalita
From the play by Kottayat Tampuran (1645-1716)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Eddaka………………………Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayanan Nair
Music………………………..Madambi and Bhavadasan
VHS original (8 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair

C3    Balivadham – Ravana & Maricha
From the play by Kottarakkara Tampuran (1555-1605)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Chenda………………………Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayanan Nambeesan
Music…………………………Gangadharan and Madambi
VHS original (10 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair

C4 Kalakeyavadham
From the play by Kottayat Tampuran (1645-1716)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Chenda……………………..Achunni Poduvai
Maddalam………………….Narayanan Nair
Music………………………..Gangadharan and Subramaniam
VHS original (1 hour 30 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair

C5    Kalakeyavadham – Urvasi
Kottayat Tamparan (1645-1716)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Eddaka………………………Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayana Nambeesan
Music………………………..Madambi and Bhavadasan
VHS original (44 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair

C6    Kalyanasaughandikam – Souryaganum
Kottayat Tamparan (1645-1716)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam M.P.Sankaran Namboodiri
Chenda……………………..Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayana Nair
Music………………………..Madambi and Bhavadasan
VHS original ( 33 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair

C7    Kamaladalam
From a play based on a story from The Ramayana
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Chenda…………………….Achunni Poduval
Maddalam…………………Narayanan Nambeesan
Music…………………………Gangadharan and Madambi
VHS original (57 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by K.K Gopalakrishnan

C8    Kirrmiravadham
From the play by Kottayat Tamparan (1645-1716)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair / Kalamandalam M.P.Sankaran Namboodiri
Chenda…………………….Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayanan Nambeesan
Music ……………………….Gangadharan and Madambi
VHS original ( 2 hours 19 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair

C9    Kirrmiravadham – Lalita
From the play by Kottayat Tamparan (1645-1716)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Edakka & Chenda……….Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayana Nambeesan
Music…………………………Madambi and Subramanian
VHS original (58 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair

C10    Narakasuravadham
From the play by Karthika Tirunal (1724-1798)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair / Kalamandalam M.P.Sankaran Namboodiri
Chenda…………………….Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayanan Nambeesan
Music…………………………Gangadharan and Ramankutty Warrier
VHS original (1 hour 31 minutes)

C11    Narakasuravadham – Lalita
From the play by Karthika Tirunal (1724-1798)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Edakka……………………..Achunni Poduval
Maddalam…………………Narayana Nambeesan
Music………………………..Gangadharan and Madambi
VHS original (21 minutes)

C12    Ravanodbavam
From the play by Raghava Pisharoty (1725-1729)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Chenda……………………Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayanan Nair
Music………………………..Madambi and Bhavadasan
VHS original (1 hour 47 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by K.K Gopalakrishnan

C13    Rugmini Swayavaram
From the play by Aswati Tirunal Tampuran (1756-1794)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Chenda…………………….Achunni Poduval
Maddalam…………………Narayanan Nair
Music…………………………Madambi and Bhavadasan
VHS original (41 minutes)

C14    Subhadraharanam
From the play by Mantredat Namputripad (1851-1905)
Perfomed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Chenda…………………….Achunni Poduval
Maddalam………………….Narayanan Nambeesan
Music…………………………Gangadharan and Madambi
VHS original (1 hour 23 minutes)
Also available with English Commentary by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair

C15    Todayam
Perfomed by Kalamandalam M.P.Sankaran Namboodiri
Chenda…………………….Achunni Poduval
Maddalam…………………Narayanan Nair
Music…………………………Madambi and Bhavadasan
VHS original (26 minutes)

Total playing time of Choliyattam: 13 hours 44 minutes

C16    Todayam and Puruppadu
Performed by students at P.S.V.Natyasangham, Kottakkal, under the guidance of their gurus as part of morning training. Filmed by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair in 2003.
Video 8 original (58 minutes)

C17    Narakasuravadham Scenes 1-3
Performed by students at P.S.V.Natyasangham, Kottakkal, under the guidance of their gurus as part of morning training. Filmed by Kottakkal Sasidharan Nair in 2003.
Video 8 original (1 hour 25 minutes)

C18   Choliyattam Supplement
1. Introduction to Choliyattam by K.P.S.Menon
(4.5 minutes)
2. Bakavadham (missing most of audio track)
(31 minutes)
Performed by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair.
Both recorded at the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1985.

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