Kathakali has become a world-famous dance-drama within the least fifteen years. Nearly every foreigner who visits Kerala wants to see a Kathakali performance
Samjukta Panigrahi along with her guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, is credited with reviving the all but extinct Odissi dance, an ancient Indian performance form from Orissa state. Odissi is solo form that combines music, song and a style of dance that includes a rich choreography with mudra hand gestures similar to those in other Indian genres such as Kathakali and pantomimic movement to convey complex narratives of love, personnel sacrifice and humankind’s relations to the gods.
...the fillip given to such ancient traditional forms as the Sadir, Bhagavata Mela, Kuchipudi , Kathakali , and Yakshagana by the revival movements in the country, has not been wholly to their advantage. Often, indeed we find corrupt tendencies and outlandish tastes...insinuating themselves ... ostensibly in order to make the art fashionable.
Kathakali as (1) “ritual theatre”implies an actor (2) who is “transformed”, an audience (3) which is “transported”, a world (4) which is “dreamlike,” and a tradition (5) which is “ancient” (teaching primitive roots). Collectively these five elements created a Kathakali “mystique”
In the absence of a well-defined structure, Mohiniyattam had earned qualifiers like ‘poor cousin of Bharatanatyam , ‘an off-shoot of Kathakali ' and so on during the 60s and the 70s. This had motivated quite a few dancers to make serious attempts to provide the dance form with an identity indigenous to Kerala;
In the oriental art tradition, the relation between the Guru and the Shishya is exemplary. Among traditional performing arts of Kerala, Mohiniyattam along with Kathakali fascinated Western artistes even in the early 20th century.
Kathakali is probably the most fascinating traditional performing art form in India's rich cultural pageant... this uniquely interpretative dance governed by dramatic dynamics, including an elaborately defined code of body kinetics, which combine with beautifully eloquent gestural representation.
Kathakali dance-drama is like a vast and deep ocean. Some may come to a performance with their hands cupped and only be able to take away what doesn’t slip through their fingers. Others may come with a small vessel, and may be able to drink that:;: And still others may come with a huge cooking pot and take away much more.
The Kathakali Man is the most beautiful of men. Because his body is his soul.Arundhati Roy