earliest mention of the Chakkyar and his art is supposed to have been in
the Silappadikaram where a Chakkyar from Parayur near Tiruvancikulam (where
the epic is supposed to have been composed) is mentioned to have performed
his art for the benefit of Senguttuvan, then the Perumal. Whether this
art was actually Chakkyar Kuttu or something else is a debatable question.
There is a section of belief that this dance was nothing else but "a sort
of pure dance representing the forceful Tandava dance of Shiva and the
graceful Lalita dance of Parvati, and has nothing to do with the staging
of Sanskrit plays." But the consensus of opinion appears to accept the
fact that there were Chakkyars performing their art in the Silappadikaram
era. A later inscription of the 10th to 12th centuries (Chola) mentions
"the Chakkyar as an actor performing in the South India temples."
(Kanak Rele, chapter 'History of Kerala – Its Theatrical Arts and Mohiniattam' in 'Mohiniattam: The Lyrical Dance')
|Vocalist DK Pattammal was the first Brahmin woman to take to the stage when it was considered a taboo.|
are 2 singers in Kathakali to provide the background music. The chief of
them is called ponnani and the other is called sankidi. While
they sing, they themselves play on the Chengila and Elatalam. One of them
holds the Chengila and the other, the Elatalam.
(G Venu, 'Abhinaya in Kathakali,' Nartanam -Vol 1, #3, July – Sept 2001)