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About 25 km northeast of Evoor is Tiruvalla, where a 20th century drawing teacher's experiment once rescued a night-long show from an unexpected shortage of make-up artistes. In the process, K.P. Ramakrishna Panikkar, the lone make-up man at the venue, altered forever the looks of the Kathakali performer. To hasten the long-drawn facial chutti work, he used white paper instead of thick rice paste for the raised border from the cheeks down to the chin. The role of the rice paste was reduced to a glue, lining the foundation to stick the paper. By the early 1940s, this innovation became the norm across Travancore.
('Green room with a new view' by Sreevalsan Thiyyadi, The Hindu Friday Review, Sept 18, 2020)

The turn of the 21st century saw the multifaceted Sadanam K. Harikumaran using fibre-glass for headgears. That, again, stemmed from an urgency. "In the year 2000, my troupe got an invitation at short notice for a Paris tour. I realised that synthetic material is much cheaper than a wooden kireedam that costs over Rs. 80,000." Three years ago, Harikumaran also came up with an easy-to-wear uduthukettu arranged with nylon sheets above a circular thermocol frame around the waist. These days, even ready-to-fit chutti paper cuttings aren't unusual outside Kerala.
('Green room with a new view' by Sreevalsan Thiyyadi, The Hindu Friday Review, Sept 18, 2020)


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