Like many classical Indian arts, Kathakali is a dance as well as acting. It is said to be one of the most difficult acts to execute on stage, with young artists preparing for their roles for several years before they get a chance to do it on stage. The actors speak a "sign language", where the word part of the character's dialogue are expressed through "hand signs mudras ", while emotions and mood is expressed through "facial and eye" movements. In parallel, vocalists in the background sing rhythmically the play, matching the beats of the orchestra playing, thus unifying the ensemble into a resonant oneness.

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Vijayakumar who is now at Cheruthuruthy for a short vacation from UK considers this endeavour as a totally different one. Vijayakumar who specialised in kathakali Vesham and his wife Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar, whose specialisation is in kathakali Chutti, are settled in the UK.

Both had studied in Kerala Kalamandalam and they practice the art form in the UK and other European countries for the past 25 years. Talking to Express, Vijayakumar said that the dictionary in a two-hour DVD cassette contains over mudras currently used in kathakali. They are arranged in alphabetical order so that anyone looking for a particular mudra in action could locate it by searching the first alphabet.

The dictionary provides explanation and the meaning of each mudra in action for the benefit of the viewer. Vijayakumar said that kathakali mudras, the life of kathakali, are categorised at head, chest and waist levels in addition to a combination of all the three.

For a person without some basics in kathakali, it will be difficult to understand these complicated mudras. He said that the dictionary aims at providing the essential basics to the viewer so that he can enjoy and discover this traditional classical art of Kerala. Vijayakumar said that he and his wife have been working on the dictionary for more than 5 years. He said that though the price of the cassette is not yet finally fixed, it would be between Rs and Rs Home States Kerala.

Dictionary for kathakali mudras The dictionary in a two-hour DVD cassette contains over mudras currently used in kathakali.


Dictionary for kathakali mudras

There are 'Asamyutha Mudras' that is shown using single hand and 'Samyutha Mudras' mudras shown in double hands in each Basic Mudras, to show different symbols. Considering all these Mudras and their seperations there are totally symbols used in Kathakali. The details of each Mudra are given below: 1. Pathaaka Flag 2. Mudraakhyam 3. Katakam Golden Bangle 4.


It takes a minimum of six years to train to be a Kathakali performer. Kathakali kata-story, kali-play , is a dance-theatre form from Kerala in Southern India. Its origins can be traced back to the beginning of the 17th century. The story goes that the Raja of Tettathu nadu in Northern Kerala was intrigued by the Ramanattam players troupes that performed the stories of Rama and invited a group of professional actors to live in his palace. Through his own creativity the Raja developed the form using ideas for make-up, costume and mudras drawn from other Indian performing art forms including Theyyam and Mohiniyattam, with the posture, steps and body movements coming from the Keralan martial art, Kutiyattam. The performances themselves are based on stories from the Puranas the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and are a fusion of: dance steps kalasams , of which there is pure dance nritta and expressional dance nritya ; story-telling through hand gestures hastamudras ; rhythms talas ; facial expressions nava rasas ; vocal delivery by the singer vachika and the make-up and costumes aharya.

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