Kakkarissi Natakam is a satirical comedy based art form presented to the traditional style of Kerala. It is an art form that incorporates music, dialogue, dance and acting. It is a folk art that was popular in southern Kerala. This Art form is also called as Kakkarissikali, Kakkarukali etc in different parts of the Kerala. The plays are based on mythological characters like Shiva, Parvati, Ganga etc. The plot of the story is that they are born among the lower communities in the society. In addition, It portrays their difficulties of daily life and human emotions. But nowadays the legendary story is kept aside and the artists make contemporary social criticism. The language spoken is Tamil and Malayalam.
Although the Kurava, Ezhava and Nair community presents Kakkarissi Natakam today, the art form was initially performed by The Kakkala Community in Kerala. It is from them that the name of ‘Kakkarissi ‘ is derived.
Perfomers of Kakkarissi Natakam
In Olden times The Kakkarissi Natakam is presented mainly by three communities these days. In the rural areas of Kallara, Vithura and Perayam in Thiruvananthapuram District, It is the Malavedars who performs the art form. In Nedumangad and Attingal, members of Kurava Community performs this folk dance. The Ezhava and Nair Communities also performs Kakkarissi Natakam in Thiruvalla and Pandalam. But in modern times, the form is in the name of Kakkala Community, they have no direct connection with the art form. Other people interested in the art form are performing it.
Origin of Kakkarissi Natakam
The origin of this art form is from Tamil Nadu. The origin of this art form is from Kakkarissi Vedarukali of Malavedar in Tamil Nadu. But it is not clear how Kakkarissi Natakam evolved from the above art form. This art form, which was confined to the rural areas, attracted more people from urban areas which lead to the popularity of it.
Plot of Kakkarissi Natakam
There is a special structure for Kakkarissi Natakam. In the majority of the play, the chief is the male character Kakkan. Apart from this there will be other characters like Kaakkathis, Vedan. Kakkan is the character representing the Kakkala Community. The play progresses with songs and dance. In the style of the old music dramas in Kerala, the dialogue, music, and dance are blended together beautifully in Kakkarissi Natakam. Musical instruments like harmonium, mridangam, ganchira, kaimani etc are used here.
The Play begins with Welcome Song or Vandanaganam. Then the Kakkan (the main character) enters. As a questioner, ‘Thampuran’ will be in the platform. Next Thampuran will enter the stage with some questions. Questions of the Thampuran and answers of the Kakkalan is the main part of the performance. Drama progresses with the songs and the dance. Social criticism and satire are the main elements of the play.