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Performing Arts



(from left)
- A presentation of Kathakalakshepam
- Shri G. R. Bhagavathar presenting Kathakalakshepam (Hari Katha)
(c) Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.

A narrative form, sung and enacted by the leading performer, occasionally accompanied by one or two singers with music provided by the musicians.

Reasons for selection

Kathakalakshepam is a popular traditional form of South India.

Area where performed

In the state of Tamil Nadu in the Southeastern coastal region of India, also prevalent in other adjoining states.

Essential elements of the performing art

Music, Dance, Theatre

Detailed explanation

Kathakalakshepam literally means narrating the stories of ancient text in a comprehensive manner to the common people. It is a form of discourse combining music and dramatic elements. The performer narrates, enacts and comments on episodes and themes from the mythological lore of India in a lucid manner. It demands theological and literary competence of the performer. Acquaintance with the epics, ancient texts, resourcefulness are imperative as also the ability to project the subject through the medium of music, spoken words and enactment.

Publication and textual documentation

1987 Traditions of Indian Folk Dance.
New Delhi: Clarion Books, associated with Hind Pocket Books (FP.1976).

Audio documentation

Audio recording available in the archives, Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.

Visual documentation

Video recording available in the archives, Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

1. Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.
2. South Zone Cultural Centre, Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Data provider

Mr. Jayant Kastuar
Sangeet Natak Akademi
Address: Rabindra Bhawan, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi - 110001, India