Details shared by Ramakrishnan A, Palakkad
About porattu nadakam
Porattu Nadakam is a folk theatre art form popular in the villages of Palakkad district. It is a blend of humorous dialogues, dance and music and is enjoyed by common people of villages. It is usually performed on an open stage, without raised platform, which is set in the paddy fields after the harvest season. The performance begins after 9 PM and continues till early morning. In the evening there is a special music session called “Keli Kottu”, using Chenda and cymbals, to remind the villagers that the play will begin within a short time. The main character is known as “Chodyakkaran” (the Questioner), who along with other artists begins the play with a prayer song praising the Goddess. It is the Questioner who controls the entire performance by asking questions to different characters and unveiling the story. There are few musicians who sing the songs and the instruments used are Chenda or Mridangam, cymbals and Harmonium. There are several characters called Mannan and Mannathi, Kuravan and Kurathi, Pookkari, Mappila, etc. Men play female roles by wearing female dress and imitating their body language.
Name of Art
Porattu Kali is performed in connection with local temple festivals in the villages, in the paddy fields after harvest season.
It is usually performed by artists belonging to Panan community. There are several Porattu Kali troupes in Palakkad who are professional artists in the field.
Porattu Kali is famous for its comic dialogues. It criticizes the current events in the society in a very interesting manner. There is no written script for this art form but is transferred orally from generation to generation.