Apart from parents of the participants and a few police personnel on duty, all other chairs remained vacant.

No takers for tradition Students perform Kathakali to empty chairs at Kerala school kalolsavamScreengrab/Reporter TV
news Kalolsavam Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 14:00

Even as crowds thronged most venues at the 57th Kerala School Kalolsavam now in progress at Kannur, there were hardly any spectators to watch Kerala’s very own traditional art form Kathakali on Tuesday.

Apart from parents of the participants and a few police personnel on duty, all other chairs remained vacant at the 12th venue named Pamba.  

As per witnesses, some enthusiasts had dropped in at the beginning of the event to witness the highly theatrical art-form with its eye-catching wardrobe and extravagant gestures.

But most soon left the venue, as they were unable to latch on to the different complex tales that were being enacted out on stage.

“Kathakali is a technical art-form, which can be truly appreciated only by those who have at least some basic knowledge about the technicalities involved. For others, it is a slow art form that could be a drudge at times,” says Kalamandalam Gopi -a Kathakali teacher- to The News Minute.

“Kalolsavams usually offer a lot more exciting, fast-paced art forms that the common man can easily relate to or enjoy. Kathakali is however not one of them. So, it is an event which is often neglected by the audience. What makes it even more painful is the fact that this great art form has been reduced to a mere competition at such festivals,” he rues.

According to Gopi, even the performances put up by the competitors are not up to the mark, as most of them are performed for the sake of competition alone: “In most performances, students don’t take the trouble to actually follow genuine age-old traditions of this native art-form.”

 

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