Ottanthullal

A perfect solo dance drama, Ottanthullal was composed by the great artist Kunjan Nambiar. The story goes that when ridiculed by the Chakyar community, the practitioners of Chakyarkoothu, Kunjan Nambiar composed Ottanthullal adding wit and satire. The entire composition laced with and satire,grace and elegance won the art form immense popularity and earned Kunjan Nambiar royal patronage.

What sets Ottanthullal apart from other forms is the combination of the actor and the satirist in one form and often enough in the performance one switches into the other effortlessly. Instruments used are the maddalam and cymbals and the musician also assists the dance in singing.

In its most sophisticated form make-up includes gaudy epaulets, gilded crowns, breastplates, colourful skirts and painted faces.

Considered an important milestone in Kerala’s art history, Ottanthullal is taught and performed by reputed institutions like the Kerala Kalamandalam today.