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Koothu

 

Koothu is a socio-religious art performed in the Koothambalam or the Koothuthara of temples, either independently or as part of Kutiyattam. It is a solo narrative performance interspersed with mime and comic interludes. The Chakkiar does the role of 'Vidushaka'or the wise jester. Through his inimitable narration of stories from the epics (The Ramayana and The Mahabharatha), the Chakkiar satirises the manners and customs of the time. No one is above the butt of his ridicule. His wit ranges from innocent mockery to veiled innuendoes, barbed pun and pungent invectives. Koothu is intermittently accompanied by the percussion instrument Mizhavu.

The Nangyar Koothu is a variation of the Koothu performed by the Nangiars or the female members of the Chakkiar community. This is a solo dance drama mainly centred on the legends of Sree Krishna. Verses are sung and interpreted through mime and dance. The mudras, though the same as in Kootiyattam, are even more elaborate. The art form is still performed in temples like Vadakkumnathan temple at Thrissur, Sri Krishna temple at Ambalappuzha, Koodal Manikyam temple at Irinjalakkuda and Kumaranalloor temple at Kottayam.

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