Close Up

24 February 2017: Masquerade


G. Aravindan
1988 | 90 min | Colour | Digital

Panicker’s one-act play deals with the relation of identification between an actor and his or her role. Aravindan put the stress on the relations between the viewer and the actor/role dualities. The action takes place on the eve of the last act of the Kathakali piece Keechakavadham (The Killing of Keechaka). The events surrounding the performance uncannily echo events in the play. One character even claims to have killed the lead actor of the play because he detested the character the man portrayed. However, the three different accounts that are presented of the same plot are never resolved or reconciled with each other. Each version is accompanied by a different style of folk music: the tune and rhythm of southern Kerala’s thampuran pattu, the pulluvan pattu and the ayappan pattu. The performers were drawn from the theatre and from Kathakali. In southern India, with its plethora of politicians using their film images to acquire inordinate wealth and power, Aravindan’s TV film bears on an eminently sensitive political as well as aesthetic issue.

Part of our season on Govindan Arivindan