Kakkarissi Natakam/a folk theatre form of Kerala

Video of a dance in Kakkarissi Natakam, a folk theatre form of Kerala. Social satire is a distinct feature of this art form. Dance and songs are integral parts of the play. The instrumental accompaniments include Harmonium, Ganjira or Tambourine, Maddalam and Ilathalam (gongs). In some places, Tabla is also used. The percussionists usually assemble at the back of the stage.

This form of theatre is believed to have originated in the later half of the 18th century. Kakkalan (hero) and Kakkathi (heroine) are the main characters of any play and hence the name Kakkarissi Natakam. This folk theatre is popular in the southern parts of the state. Earlier Kakkarissi Natakam was performed only by the members of Kurava and Malaveda, two tribal communities. Later on members of some other communities too started staging the art form.