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 actor’s 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-demons. ‘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.