Between 1561-1614, Achyutappa Nayaka, a ruler of Thanjavur, granted a village Achyutapuram, now called Melattur, to 501 refugee families of Kuchipudi dancers who migrated to Tamil Nadu after the fall of the Vijaynagar empire. Considered an offshoot of the Kuchipudi dance tradition, BHAGAVATAMELA, a temple ritualistic dance tradition of hereditary male dancers, is based mostly on plays written in Telugu by Melattur Venkatrama Sastry, a senior contemporary of Thyagaraja who authored 12 dance dramas of which 6 are in vogue today. A fine blend of music and mime, this dance tradition represents in essence, the total Sanskrit theatre prescribed by sage Bharata. The Melattur Bhagavatamela Natya Vidya Sangam organises the Bhagavatamela Dance Drama Mahotsav every year at Melattur. It takes place in front of the small shrine of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami.
KUCHIPUDI has been an exclusive male oriented dance-drama tradition prevalent in Andhra Pradesh for nearly 500 years.The name Kuchipudi is derived from the village it originated from. It degenrated due to feudalistic abuse of female dancers. Under an aescetic Siddendra Yogi, it evolved into a refined form of dance. Siddendra Yogi wanted to elevate the dance form to the level of the 5th Veda and give it a social status that it had lost to feudalistic abuse. He revolutionised Kuchipudi by confining it to a dance-drama tradition where only male brahmins who were conversant with the Vedas and Sanskrit could play the male as well as female roles. Their knowledge would make them capable of conveying religious and moral truths. Thus, Kuchipudi became a masculine dance taught by men to men. Until almost the 1950's, only male dancers called Bhagavatulu used to impersonate female characters in the dance-dramas. With the entry of female dancers in the field,male dancers started presenting solo items. The major change in the last 50 years is the trend of female dancers to portray male characters and vice versa.
Red, green, black, yellow, orange are the predominant colors used in Kathakali. The colors are got from specially selected stones, powdered and mixed with oil before being used. They have medicinal value as they are used on the face. The painstaking process of make-up takes a good 3 to 4 hours. Satvik or virtuous characters use green make-up. Rajasik or characters with particular voices use red make-up. Tamasik or evil characters use black make-up. Lastly the eyes are reddened with an extract made from eggplant seeds.The female characters put on a make-up called a 'minukku' which is anatural shade or white with beautifully defined eyes and lips.

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