Kutiyattam: The Heritage Theatre of India

Paper Type: Art Paper (Matt) | Size: 298 x 216mm
All colour; 102 photographs and 1 illustration; 196 pages; Hardback
ISBN-10: 8189738828 | ISBN-13: 978-81-89738-82-2

 2495 |  83 |  39

Kutiyattam: The Heritage Theatre of India, is the first major book on this vibrant theatre tradition that existed in India from the times of the Natya Sastra. It traces the history and evolution of Kutiyattam through different ages, its aesthetics and theatre grammar as well as the challenges in its transmission to a new generation of artists and viewers. Kutiyattam is widely acknowledged as the only living link to India’s ancient theatrical tradition. While its origins are hazy, it is said to have an unbroken history of around two thousand years, combining old Sankrit theatre with the regional forms of Kerala. It has its own distinctive theatrical conventions and improvisations, with highly sophisticated facial expressions and a fluent vocabulary of gestures. Kutiyattam elaborates action by extending the performance score to heights of imaginative fancy. Ever since it ventured outside Kerala’s temple-theatres in the 1950s, it has been appreciated by a wider circle of connoisseurs, and challenged by shifting systems of patronage. This book discusses the theory and practice of the art form and aims to introduce Kutiyattam to a larger readership. It includes the translation of the performance manual of ‘Asokavanikanakam’, from Saktibhadra’s play Ascharyachudamani, as an illustrative example.

Sudha Gopalakrishnan
Sudha Gopalakrishnan

Sudha Gopalakrishnan has studied India’s traditional arts forms for three decades, especially the performing arts of Kerala. Sudha is President of the non-profit SAHA (Stirring Action on Heritage and the Arts). Currently she is working on an online repository on Indian knowledge systems.