In Pics: Koodiyattam - India’s Oldest Living Theatre Tradition in Singapore

Koodiyattam is the oldest living theatre tradition of India. It is believed to be 2,000 years old and is the only surviving Sanskrit theatre tradition. Master exponent Kapila Venu brought this rich art form to Singapore during Kalaa Utsavam.

One of the few dance forms that fall under this ancient dance tradition is Nangiar Koothu, a solo narrative art form performed by females, known for its expressions of the eyes.
One of the few dance forms that fall under this ancient dance tradition is Nangiar Koothu, a solo narrative art form performed by females, known for its expressions of the eyes. Photo courtesy: IndieStrings
“I think Koodiyattam, Nangiar Koothu manifest an awareness of a history of art, but also carry this awareness forward in its practice”- Kapila Venu
“I think Koodiyattam, Nangiar Koothu manifest an awareness of a history of art, but also carry this awareness forward in its practice”- Kapila Venu. Photo: Connected to India
‘Nangiar’ is essentially a storyteller who also performs the roles of various characters in the story.
‘Nangiar’ is essentially a storyteller who also performs the roles of various characters in the story. Photo courtesy: IndieStrings
This art form was conventionally performed in Hindu temples in the Indian state of Kerala.
This art form was conventionally performed in Hindu temples in the Indian state of Kerala. Photo: Connected to India
Kapila Venu presented two stories at Kalaa Utsavam. “Both these pieces were choreographed in collaboration with my father G Venu, a renowned Kutiyattam exponent and actor-trainer. These are two of my favorite pieces from my repertoire.”
Kapila Venu presented two stories at Kalaa Utsavam. “Both these pieces were choreographed in collaboration with my father G Venu, a renowned Kutiyattam exponent and actor-trainer. These are two of my favorite pieces from my repertoire.” Photo courtesy: IndieStrings
It is recognised by UNESCO as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’.
It is recognised by UNESCO as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. Photo: Connected to India

 

Author
Sunanda Verma
Sunanda Verma – Senior Writer

Sunanda is a writer-journalist. In a previous avatar she worked as a Prime Time and Special shows TV News Producer with Star News (now ABP), Zee News and TV Today Networks. She enjoys deciphering cultural codes across nationalities, age groups and gender. Sunanda celebrates inspiration, and her writings take such stories beyond geographical, cultural, social or religious boundaries. 

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