Heights of creativity

‘Pakarnattam’ is an acting technique that is used by actors in indigenous classical art forms to depict various characters singlehandedly in a narrative. This transformation into various characters during a solo performance helps them to showcase their mastery over the art of acting.

Aparna Nangiar performing 'Govardanodharanam' Nangiarkoothu Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

A Nangiarkoothu performance by Aparna Nangiar in Ernakulam captivated her audience. In her solo performance of ‘Govardhanodharanam’, she excelled in the ‘pakarnattam’ sequence during the ‘Parvata varnana’.

‘Govardhanodharanam’, an episode from ‘Sreekrishna Charitam’, narrates how Lord Krishna teaches the arrogant Indra a lesson in humility. Krishna and friends decline to do the yaga for Indra. Instead they decide to do the yaga for the Govardhana Mountain. Krishna and his friends reach the mountain and before they start the yaga, they observe the mountain and its inhabitants closely. This sequence is known as ‘Parvata varnana’ (description of the mountain). Aparna depicted this sequence in the innovative way in which it was conceptualised by her guru, the late Ammanur Madhava Chakyar. Aparna evocatively portrayed the mountain, it’s vastness and altitude, its steep and curving paths and deep valleys filled with trees, leaves, buds and fruits.

Hearing about the yaga, Indra becomes furious and sends clouds to destroy the yaga. Incessant rain follows and, finally, to save his friends and family and their belongings, Krishna lifts up the mountain in his hand to shelter the inhabitants of Vrindavan for seven days. Percussion support by Kalamandalam Narayanan Nambiar and Kalamandalam Rajeev on the mizhavu and Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan on the edakka was immeasurable. The percussionists aurally created the ambience of the forest. Thalam was provided by Gayathri.

The event was organised by BEAME (Bank Employees Art Movement, Ernakulam) in association with Thiranottam and Ernakulam Karayogam.