This is Jayanthan,


He is the love interest  of Naksathundi , the servant of Nakasakura (Demon King))

Before I go further into the play’s story, let me provide a brief description of Kathakali, the art form  of this performance,

Kathakali – This is a 400 year old performing art of Kerala ,  a combination of dance, theatre, music percussion. and mime. The make-up and costumes have significant roles, telling the story through exaggerated facial expressions,  hand-gestures and movement of eyes. In fact, the eyes are not only accentuated with bright garish makeup, but the whites of the eyes are made to be bright red by inserting eggplant seeds in them prior to the performance.  Ouch.

There are no words spoken or sung – all emotion and action is displayed through facial, arm, leg and body motions which are quite extraordinary as you will see in a moment. And all of the parts, male and female are performed by men.

Kathakali plays tell the stories from Indian epics  such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. The 200 characters in Kathakali symbolize the three mythological worlds: heaven, earth and the netherworld.  It takes between three and five hours for the actors to apply their facial makeup.  The plays themselves are quite long – up to 6 to 8 hours  to present the complete version of a Kathakali play.

Before the very shortened play commenced, we were given a primer of the kinds of eye, hand, leg and body moments we were to see to help us understand the ploy.  Here are a few:

I actually felt pain watching the artist dance on the sides of his feet:

I did not film the actual play as I wanted to fully enjoy the experience  – and it was mesmerizing.  I totally recommend visiting Kerala/Kumarakom  and seeing Kathakali in person.

Here is a synopsis  of this play:

Kathakali Story – Nasakasura Vadham

Nakasakura (Demon King) orders Naksathundi  – his servant to kidnap some heavenly ladies for his amusement. The servant complies.  While returning she sees Jayanthan (Green character) sitting in a garden.  At the first sight  she falls in love with him.  She begs him to accept her as his wife, but Jayanthan doesn’t agree.  Their dialogue  leads to fighting.

At the end of the fighting Jayanthan defeats the servant and cuts off her ears, nose and breasts

Guess he was just not into her.



  1. Kathakali is a true testament to the power of collaboration, where every element intertwines harmoniously to create a spectacle. The dancers, musicians, makeup artists, costume designers, and stage technicians work in unison to bring forth a seamless performance. Each artist’s role is integral, with the makeup and costumes enhancing the visual impact, the dance breathing life into the characters, and the music weaving together the threads of the narrative. The synergy of these elements elevates Kathakali to a sublime form of artistic expression.

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