(Last Updated on : 13/07/2011)
The term Ottan Tullal, which is a popular form of tullal dance, means jumping and running. This is a South Indian dance form that was actually created by a poet Kunjan Nambair who lived in the 18th century. The Ottan Tullal is a dance form with phenomenal success both in India and abroad. The performance of Tullal dance has various mudras, avinaya and adaus and lasts for two hours. This dance form is always preceded by the invocation to Saraswati and Ganesha. Here the dancer usually sings the song and then acts out with lines using mimes and gestures. If the dancer wishes he may leave all the singing to his musicians.
This dance form is quite informal and the dancer goes in among the audience and interacts with all the members individually. If at any point of time the dancer feels tired he can turn away from the audience while the musician continues to play. There are basically two varieties if tullals namely Parayan Tullal and Seetankan Tullal, but none of the two dance form is as common and popular as Ottan Tullal. The lyrics used in these songs are simpler and the costumes worn by the dancer is also quite simple.
There are not many people involved with this form of dance in the present times. The main reason that can be sated for the same is the fact that there is not much of a financial reward involved with this dance form considering the amount of hard work that people have to put in while singing, dancing and performance and the little reward that they get in return. One of the renowned faces of this art from was Malabar Raman Nair of Quilon.
This dance lies somewhere in between the folk dance and classical dance. The root of this dance form has its similarity with Kathakali and follows the same principles. This form of dance had a close link with the people and it played a huge role towards their relaxation and comfort.
With time the popularity of Tullal dance form has taken a serious beating and there is a serious question mark over its survival and even it is able to tide over the crisis it may not have the same popularity as it enjoyed before.