Enjoy rhythms from Kerala at the Keli festival

Updated: Nov 24, 2016, 11:00 IST | Dipanjan Sinha |

The Keli festival celebrates sounds, rhythms and a women-centric theatre tradition honed over a thousand years

Usha Nangiar
Usha Nangiar

“When we started the festival in 1991, travelling to Kerala was a long and difficult journey and people did not travel such long distances very frequently. So the idea to start the Keli festival was to create a feeling of home away from home,” says Ramachandran K, director of Keli, a festival that now aims to develop and promote the cultural heritage of the verdant state. The first phase of the festival begins tomorrow with a focus on Nangiar Koothu.

“Nangiar Koothu is a 1,200-year-old women’s theatre tradition, the most ancient living tradition of its kind in the world,” Ramachandran explains. The show will be presented by celebrated actress Usha Nangiar. In its 25th edition, the festival is titled, Saga Of A Village — An Arts Story. “Our programme comprises a series of festivals that portray the cultural roots of Peruvanam and its rich heritage,” he says.

Ramachandran informs that Peruvanam is a small village in Kerala’s Trichur district which claims a significant place in the cultural map for its relevance to historical art forms. “It is the land of an exclusive aural rhythm and art tradition called Melam that has a history spanning 1,434 years along the lines of the world’s most ancient, 1800-year-old Sanskrit theatre tradition,” he says. The festival will organise programmes, featuring diverse art forms of Peruvanam, spread over three months.

On: November 25, 6 pm
At: Prithvi Theatre, Juhu Church Road
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