Friday, September 01, 2006

Kathakali Make Up different types

I hope you enjoyed the last post. Now I would like to post something regarding the different types of dress forms in Kathakali. The major types are:


Pacha is the form of dress mainly used for people who are "Satwik" in nature. Usually good characters like Krishna, Arjuna, Sree Rama, Nala etc. will have this form of make-up. Where Krishna and Sree Rama belongs to a special class of Pacha called as "Krishna Mudi" -means they will have small crown which is decorated with beautiful iridescent blue-green or green colored plumage. Others will wear a round shaped crown. Generally they are good characters.

Katti is used for the charecters like Duryodhana, Ravana who are kings but having bad behaviour in them . They generally belongs to the class of "Rajasa" behaviour. They will generally have a sword with them. The word Katti means sword in Malayalam. The make-up for Yama - the destroyer for all people in the world (of course the ultimate destroyer is Lord Siva) has katti make-up but it is slightly different. When usual katti forms are called as Nedum-Katti, this is called as Kurum Katti. It will have a small black mixed with green make-up unlike usual katti make-ups where the make-up is red mixed green.
Tadi is a general term where there are three different categories for it:
  • Red Tadi (Chuvanna Tadi)
  • White Tadi (Vella Tadi)
  • Black Tadi (Kari)

We will see each one now.

Red Tadi is basically for the charecters having "Tamasa" behaviour. The examples includes Dussassana (brother of Duryodhaha), Bali, Sugreeva, Trigartha (A companion of Duryodhana) etc. who are very rude in their behaviour. They will have a huge red colored beard in their face. White Tadi is for the charecters like Hanuman and Nandikeswaran. They have a white beard in their face. Similarly the Black Tadi charecters have a black beard in their face. The main charecter in this make-up is Hunter (Kattalan - people living in jungle). Some other examples are Guhan in Sreeramapattabhiskekam (Sree Rama becomes the King of his country), Malayan in Nizhalkuttu (Killing using shadow) etc. There is another type of Kari for bad female charecters. They have complete black make-up similar to the male Kari charecters. The examples include Soorppanakha in Ramayanam, Pootana in Pootanamoksham (Moksha of Pootana), Nakratundi in Narakasuravadham (Killing of Narakasura) etc.

Now with respect to Minukku, there are several categories. Ladies, Sages, Brahmins( people belongs to the upper cast in Hindu mythology). They have very simple make-up system as compared to the above described systems.

Even though these are the main types of charecters, there are several charecters having different style of make-up. Examples are Hamsam in the story of Nala-Damayanthi, Jadayu in the story of Rama etc are birds having a beak fitted in their mouth and wings attached to it. Another category is charecters like Valalan (Name of Bhima during the period of Ajnatavasa) and servant in Uttaraswayamvaram (Marriage of Uttara), Mannan (Washer man) in Lavanasuravadham (Killing of Lavanasura). There are some funny chareters also in Kathakali. These jokers are named as Bheeru or Peeru. They will make-up not according to the rules of Kathakali. Some other rare charecters are Angatan in Balivadham (Killing of Bali), Buffallow in the story of Nala, Mandara in the story of Rama etc.

I think that is enough for now. How are you feeling about Kathakali now? Are you getting bored because of these? Then expect something else soon. What can we discuss next?

The basic process in Kathakali?


somethnig else? wait... wait....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ganesh,

Nicely explained the nuances of Kathakali. I believe it will help to get the basics of this great art form.