ottam thullal/ANCIENT KERALA DANCE FORM

(1) parayan thullal
(2)seethankan thullal
(3) ottam thullal

Ottam Thullal originated due to the genius of the great poet Kunjan Nambiar, who used to beat the drum for Chakiar Koothu. One day, Nambiar was careless while beating the drum, and the Chakiar reprimanded him in public. Kunjan Nambiar was deeply insulted. This insult evolved the muse in him. He worked hard throughout the night, and came up with a new form of story telling on the next day. On this day, as the Chakiar Koothu was going on, Kunjan Nambiar performed Ottam Thullal. Within a short time, the audience left the Chakiar and started witnessing Nambiar’s Thullal perfomance.

Based on different styles of narrative singing, rhythms of dancing, foot work and make-up of the dancer, three varieties of Thullal were evolved in course of time. They are:


1. Ottan Thullal

This style consists of a variety of rapid metres well suited for amusing narratives and is vigorous in execution. The Thullal artist who represents this type has a fascinating costume. His face is painted green. With a round headgear of multi-coloured tinsel and gold, a breast plate to match, a circlet of jingles round his ankles and wearing a frilled skirt round his waist, he sings and dances to the sounding of the cymbals and beating of the drum. Along with singing and dancing, the player acts the incidents narrated in the songs. Ottan thullal usually
represents Mahavishnu.







Seethankan thullal


2. Seethankan Thullal
It has metres of medium cadence for the songs used and rhythm to suit. In contrast to the picturesque appearance of the dancer in Ottam Thullal, the dancer in Seethankam Thullal has his face unpainted, except for a few black lines, on the eyebrows and eyelids to heighten the expression of the eyes. He wears a crown made out of the tender leaves of coconut palm, with frills of the same material adorning his wrists.

3.
Parayan Thullal
This has a slow narrative style for singing, with slow graceful elegant steps, movements and hand gestures. The make-up of a Parayan is very simple except for an ornamental headgear with a serpent hood and a red cloth round his waist. The dancer smears the body with charcoal paste and wears ghungru (circlet of bells) only on one leg.

parayan thullal -----sabhapravesam