(Last Updated on : 08/07/2017)
Costumes and Make Up in Kathakali
conserve its masculine aspect in its essential vigour. Strong Malayan
and Tibetan influences are recognized in the decorations of the actors. Kathakali Dance form is noted for its ancient costumes
and grand headgears. The costumes used are heavy, intricate, elaborate and colourful. They transform the actor mentally and physically to portray a particular character. The costume is the most characteristic feature of Kathakali Dance. The beautiful costumes of the Kathakali dancers are the essence of the entire performance.
Costumes in Kathakali
There are numerous kinds of costume in Kathakali Dance. These are: Sathwika (the hero), Kathi (the villain), Minukku (females) and Thatti. These essential divisions are subdivided in a way which is very famous to Malayali
(Keralite) audiences. Each character is right away recognisable by their characteristic makeup and costume. The Sathwika characters or the hero put on diverse attires as compared to the evil
characters. The Pachcha characters generally dress in a jacket of purple, blue or yellow colour. The red-beards wear a red jacket and the white-beards wear a white jacket.
The lower half of the costume of Kathakali dancer is general including the minukku characters. An effort is made to broaden the actors parts by using greatly plaited skirts. Under this amazing make-up, a colossal headgear and fantastic costume is elastic, flexible, thin and well-trained. Most male characters dress in dark complete-sleeved jackets with coloured or white rounded long skirts. Lengths of white cloth thrown over the shoulders are also there. The female characters tie a knot on the top of their hair and the ornamented scarf is falling over red jackets coupled with a white saree
covering the lower half of the body.
Ornaments in Kathakali
The ornaments and jewelleries
consist of necklace
, bracelets, bangles, gilt breast-plates and bunches of small bells strung round the ankles. Kathakali Dance is the decoration of the eyebrows, eyelids, the eyeballs, the iris and the pupil to the highest degree for eye expression. In this style of dance, the presentation of the eyes of all the characters is blushed by the application of gentle nuisance of a flower
to give prominence to the eyes. The bright red eyes suit better to the various moods of the characters and. The red eyes together are decorated brilliantly and colourful make-ups, head-dresses, beautiful costumes and jewellery give on Kathakali dance an extraordinary feature which changes the whole dance-drama
The name of the different ornaments and jewelleries which are used in Kathakali Dance are - Tholpoottu, Thoda, Valla, Chamaram, Chevipoovu, Hasthakhadakam, Padiyaranjanam, Pattuval, Parithikkamini, Santham-Peace, Kachamani, Chuttithuni, Kazhuthu Nada/Netti Nada, Marmala, Kurunira, Keshabharam/Kireedam, Kuttichamaram, Hanumanmudi, Krishnamudi, Konda, Makudamudi, Kaattalan, Kazhutharam, etc.
Significance of the Makeup of Kathakali
The Artists are trained to do the make-up on their individual. It takes around 8-10 hours to complete the detailed Aharya, means the make-up of Kathakali. Pacha Vehsam is a green make-up which signifies that the performer is depicting a good or a divine character, such as that of Lord Rama
. Kathi or Knife Vesham is a green make-up with streaks of red on the cheeks signifies the character as the high birth that has shades of sin like Ravana
. Kari Vesham is the black make-up that is worn for she-demon
s. Minukku Vesham is a bright yellow make-up that describes the character of a woman
or a severe. Chuvanna Thadi is the red beards which are specified to the evil characters particularly. Karutha Thadi is the black beard that signifies the personality of a forest
inhabitant or a hunter.
The costume is used by the performers that make them look like super humans. Mask
like designs are painted on the faces of the actors. Different types of white line are used to denote the nature of characters. With such vibrant costumes, it is a visual treat to watch the Kathakali dancers
perform on stage.