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Kathakali is a classical theatre form from Kerala. The word Kathakali literally means “Story-Play”. Kathakali is known for its heavy, elaborate makeup and costumes. A simple stage is used. A large oil-fed lamp is placed in front of the stage and two people hold a curtain called Tirasseela on the stage, the main dancers stand behind it before the performance.
Kathakali combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. The performer expresses himself through codified hastamudras (hand gestures) and facial expressions, closely following the verses(padams) that are sung. This more than 300 years old theatre form is said to have evolved from other performing arts like Kutiyattam, Krishnanattam and Kalaripayattu. Kathakali presents themes derived from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other Hindu epics, mythologies and legends.