THE CHARACTERS: KATHAKALI
The characters are categorised into symbolic “personalities” ranging from the most
sanctified [Gods] to the most evil.
The characters represent the evolution of humanity and the sensitive relationship between
the individual, spirituality and society.
Situations are acted out where desperation and cruelty give way to truth and compassion. The
plays communicate on a deep and personal level intended to offer an example of how to
survive when enormous hardship is faced.
KATHAKALI CHARACTER TYPES are easily identified by specific make up, costumes and body language.
Two different characters belonging to the same category may “appear” visually the same, even
though performing in two separate plays. However, the story, slight changes in the make up
or costume will indicate the exact character on stage.
(Pure- Green face) Represents good, divinity, The gods and heroic Characters.
E.g: Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Arjuna, Bhima and King Nala.
(Knife) – They are heroic but have lust, arrogance, a desire for power and cruelty.
Eg: Kichaka, Ravana, Duryodhana .
Cruel, evil, distructive, arrogant and a killer. E.g: Baka, Jarasandan,
symbolises anger, cruelty and evil. Similar to Red Beard but a different
combination of colours.
Black Berad – Represents Humour, violence. Primitive life E.g A forest dweller.
Kari: An evil Demoness
Hannuman – the devoted Monkey God.
Female( Minikku) Minikku: Soft and natural make up for the female character, Humans, Brahmins,Sages, Messengers, Narada Radiant and Priests.
Hamsam: The Golden Swan and Garuda both have special make up.
Lord Krishna or Lord Rama