70-yr-old Nandkumaran Asan electrifies audience with Kathakali recitals

70-yr-old Nandkumaran Asan electrifies audience with Kathakali recitals

DIBRUGARH, Oct 5: The name ‘Kannagi’, so far familiar to the people of south India has suddenly won the hearts of art & dance lovers in upper Assam, thanks to an inspiring series of Kathakali performances by renowned Guru Kottakkal Nandakumaran Asan projecting the heroic life of an ordinary woman rising up against injustice perpetrated by a ruler.

Nandkumaran Asan’s visit to towns Dibrugarh, Moran and Shillong was organised by a joint initiative of Shiksha Valley School, Dibrugarh, Oil India Ltd (OIL) Officers’ Club, Moran and Sree Narayana Guru Cultural Centre, Shillong, and coordinated by the Lohit Youth Library Network, Arunachal Pradesh.

70 year-‘young’ Kottakkal Nandakumaran Asan, an abhinaya expert well-known for his graceful and aesthetic depiction of classical roles like ‘Pacha’, ‘Kathi’, ‘Minukku’, and ‘Vellathaadi’ thrilled the audience, even young children, during his portrayal of Kannagi in “Madura Dahanam”.

The Guru demonstrated eloquently the bhavas (emotions) like shock, intense grief and anguish of Kannagi due to the terrible loss of her husband as also her surging anger against injustice by the King. Madura Dahanam was also staged at Moran town where Asan’s scintillating abhinaya won all hearts.

Speaking after the play, Er Ranjit Bhowmick, General manager, OIL, Moran lauded the agility, spirit and dynamism of the Kathakali maestro, even at 70 years. Madura Dahanam is a new Kathakali item developed by Asan, under a grant from the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, with the lyrics composed by the well-known poet S Rameshan Nair.

Asan also gave a moving portrayal of maternal love and the conflicts while performing one’s duties (Dharma), in a solo performance of “Poothana Moksham” at the DHSK Arts & Science College, Dibrugarh.

Nandakumaran Asan also conducted a delightful Abhinaya workshop at the Shikhsa Valley School for senior students and teachers to help them improve expression and communication skills, in which reader-activists from the Lohit Youth Library Network also participated.

Speaking at the end of the workshop, Tristy Towang, a B Ed trainee from Tezu explained that Asan’s demonstrations were very useful to them not only in training skits and street-plays but in classroom teaching.

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