Kathakali.What is it?

kathakali is one of the major and difficult forms of The Indian classical Dance forms. It is distinguished by its Colorful makeup, Costumes and face masks  which is traditionally wore by Male performers and dancers.

In my previous post i wrote About Bharatnatyam .Now i will be providing Information about Khatakali in detail.


The roots of this form is somewhat unclear. Its root from the temple and the folk arts are traceable from the 1st millennium CE. But the origin of fully developed Kathakali is around 17th century.

It is developed  primarily as a  performing arts from the southern region of India.

According to the believes it originated from krishnanattam , a dance dedicated to Lord Krishna and was created by Sri Manavedan Raja a Zamiron of Calicut during 1585-1658 AD. It also has its elements and aspects from the Sanskrit text Natyashastra.


Costume and makeup in Kathakali

The color of the costume depends upon the character which the performer is playing. The performer who is playing Pachcha character wear a jacket either of purple, blue or yellow color. Whereas the red beards wear a red jacket and the white beards wear a white jacket. The lower part of all the kathakali dancers is same , a long heavily plated skirt .

This dance form has most elaborate costumes. It consists of Head dresses, face masks and brightly painted faces. It takes several hours to prepare and get ready a performer of this dance form. The face of the performer is usually painted with green color highlighting eyes, Lips so that the audience can connect with them. The color which is used to paint the face are made from rice paste and vegetable colors. This dance forms has many characters and the makeup of the performer primarily depends upon the character which is to be played . Almost all the characters are from Hindu mythology . The color of face masks is green for Pachcha, Ripe for Pazhuppu , Knife for Kathi, Kari, Thaadi, Minnuku and Teppu characters.



The choreography of this dance form primarily includes acting. One of the most difficult styles to execute on the stage as the actors use sign language whereas the word part is expressed by Mudras(Hand signs) while emotions are expressed by facial and eye movements. There are 24 mudras in this dance forms.

Keep dancing:-)


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