refinement of Ashtapadiattom, evolved by Manavedan, the Zamorin was
Krishnanattom. The whole story of Krishna was cast into a
drama-cycle which would need eight nights for serial p r o d u c t i
o n . Vilwamangalam, a Krishna devotee, helped in designing the
costume of Krishna. The actors in this dance drama have to conform
themselves to the ballet element and mimetic expression. The
narrative song is left to the musicians. Krishnanattom was created
as a votive offering and it survives in that capacity in the temple
of Guruvayoor where it is still performed. The dance drama is based
on the text Krishna-Geetha which is in Sanskrit. Many of the
characteristics of the earlier ritual folk dances such as Thiyyattom,
Mudiyettu and Theyyam are seen in Krishnanattom especially in the
painting of the face in intricate patterns, and the use of masks and
colourful, gorgeous costumes and head-dresses. The make-up costumes
and ornaments used in Krishnanattom are almost similar to that seen
in Kathakali, though in Krishnanattom some of the characters are
seen using painted masks made of wood. The gestural language and
abhinaya are not very well developed. More importance is given to
pure dance (nritta) and the stress is always on group movements and
group compositions. All the eight night plays are full of beautiful
dances. In no other dance could be seen so many characters
performing the same dance with the same facial expressions, eye
movements, gestures, foot-work (and set to the same rhythm), with so
much of co-ordination, and grace, e.g., Mullappoothutal in Rasalila
(Sree Krishna with Gopies) Kaliyamardana Nritham etc.
Maddalam, elethalam and chengala are the musical instruments used.
An appreciation of
Krishnattam Performance Theatre
and the World - Performance and the Politics of Culture
First published by Manohar Publications, India (1990).
Reprinted by Routledge, London (1993).
Chapter ten: Preparing for Krishna
This article was first published in the Journal of
Arts and Ideas, New Delhi, No. 16, 1988.
krishnanu venti orungal Malayalam translation of
Preparing for Krishna
Krishnanattam (Krishnagiti) with commentary
in Malayalam by
P.C. Vasudevan Elayath
Published by Guruvayur Devaswom, Kerala, India.
Manavedakavi, Malayalam verse translation by
M. Kunhan Varrier, with an
introduction by P. V. Krishna Varrier. Published by
Mangalodayam, Thrissur, Kerala (1940), pages 246.
A.C.G. Raja, Trichur,
Krishnanattam - Krishnagiti
With prose translation by P.C.V.
Raja . Published by Manaveda's fourth birth
centenary Celebration Committee, Guruvayur, (1988),
Martha Bush Ashton-Sikora
and Robert P. Sikora
Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi
Krishnagiti of Manaveda edited and translated
by C. R. Swaminathan and
Published by Indira Gandhi National Center for the
Arts, New Delhi and Motilal Banarsidass Publishers
Pvt. Ltd., Delhi (1997). ISBN 81-208-1478-9.
about this book.