Kathakali literally means story-play and is an elaborate dance depicting the victory of truth over falsehood. Themes revolve around the two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha.
A Striking feature of Kathakali is the use of elaborate make-up and colourful costumes. This is to emphasize that the characters are superbeings from another world.
The spectators can feel his invisible presence when the heroine or her maid details dreams and ambitions through circular movements, delicate footsteps and subtle expressions. Through slow and medium tempos, the dancer is able to find adequate space for improvisations and suggestive bhavas or Kathakali classical danceemotions.
Costume is designed with lots of paint applied on the face of the artist. The pomp and magnificence of Kathakali is partly due to its decor, part of which include the ‘Kireetam’ or huge head gear, the ‘Kanchukam’ or the over sized jacket, and the long skirt worn over a thick padding of cushions.
Make-up which is of five types- Pacha, Kathi, Thadi, Kari and Minukku.