KATHIVANNUR VEERAN (THEYYAM) Group Leader: Sasikumar V

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Group Leader: Sasikumar V
Group: Story Teller’s Grove, Kerala
Language: Malayalam
Duration: 4 hrs 30 mins (with rituals)

The Form
Theyyam is a socio-religious ritual in the north Malabar region of the Kerala state in India. The mythological, divine, ancestral, animal, serpent or heroic characters are represented in it, each with its distinct physical shape, and a story of its origin. It is a subaltern performing art as the performers of Theyyam belong to the lower caste community, and have an important position in Theyyam. People of north Malabar consider Theyyam itself as a God and seek his blessings.

The Play
Kathivannur Veeran has earned an indomitable place in the memory of the local folk, both as an accomplished warrior and an excellent lover. Mandappan was the son of Chakki of Parakkayillam and Kumarachan of Meathali Illam, in Kannur district, born with the blessings of Chuzhali Bhagavathi. While enjoying life as a carefree youth, he happened to quarrel with his father once. In rage, Kumarachan stamped on Mandappan’s bow, and broke it into two. Upset with his father, and convinced that a warrior who was bereft of his weapon was as good as dead, the boy left his house with his friends, to join his uncle. On the way, he was cheated by his friends. Finally, he reached his uncle’s house in Kudagu where he settled down to a life of farming and trading. He happened to see the beautiful Chemmaruthi of Velaarkotta Veettil and married her. The young couple was so much in love that their ardour and possessiveness often led to quarrels. One day, she picked up an argument with him because he had returned late. He was not able to convince her that he got delayed trying to sell sesame oil. As soon as he sat down to eat, he heard the sound of the war bugles announcing the beginning of the war between Muthaarmudi Kudagar and Malayaalees. Mandappan got up and rushed to the battle field, not heeding Chemmmaruthi’s words and curses. During the battle he lost his little finger and the ceremonial ring. He got worried that his wife would pick up an argument about his lost ring. So, he returned to the battlefield, and the Kudagars ambushed and shot him to death. Mandappan’s grieving friends, gathered the strewn pieces of Mandappan’s body and took them to Velaarkotta Veedu, and got the pyre ready to cremate the remains. The grief stricken Chemmaruthi, who divined her husband’s death beforehand, ended her life, jumping into her husband’s burning pyre. The efforts of her brothers proved of no use as she distracted them before immolating herself. It is this hero and his love who are celebrated through Kathivannur Theyyam performance. It is said that the Chemmaruthi Thara, built in the name of Chemmaruthi, famed for her excessive love, is symbolic of Kathivannur Veeran’s enduring affection for his beloved wife. The panthams (lighted torches or flames) on her Thara, are said to commemorate Kathivannur Veeran’s loyal friends, and evoke the atmosphere of the battlefield. Mandappan and Chemmaruthi continue to live in the hearts of the people as the unforgettable lovers of Thayyattam stories. Lengthy thottams, sword fights, acrobatics, martial moves and Urumi fights keep the spectators spell bound during Kathivannur Veeran Theyyam performance. Its ritual practices last for three days. Hence, as far as the viewer is concerned, Kathivannur Veeeran is not an easy Theyyam to enjoy.

Cast & Credits
Karmi: Sanil Peruvannan
Theyyam: Shanu Peruvannan
Thottakkaran & Singer: Biju Vengara
Thottakkaran: Sudev Pallikkara

Chenda & Singer: Adarsh
Chenda: Abhiram
Veeku Chenda: Aswanth
Artistic Coordinator: A Sreekanth
Theyyam Attendent: Vignesh

Team Leader: Sasikumar V

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is Currently a Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he teaches are: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.in & www.stagebuzz.info He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He is an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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