“This life is a delegation for me. I am following the path that my ancestors have shown me. The sad part is that the popularity of Mudiyettu is decreasing everyday”. When VN Narayana Kurup popularly known among his colleagues as Nanu Kurup, the head of the Kizhekke Varanattu Mudiyettu Kala Sangham (Sangham), says this, the passion for the art and moreover an anxiety about the existence of the art is evident on his face.
Mudiyettu is a traditional ritual drama presenting the battle between Goddess Kali and Demon Dharika, usually presented in the Kavus’ of Bhadrakali temples in Kerala to appease the Goddess. The literal word meaning of Mudiyettu is ‘Uncrowning of Kali’. It is usually performed during the post-harvest season in Kerala. An exact year of its origin is yet to be marked.
Based in the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur, the Sangham is the only UNESCO approved Mudiyettu organisation in Kerala. It was in 2010, UNESCO had given a place for Mudiyettu in its list of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ and is the second art form from Kerala to find a mention in the list after Koodiyattam. The nodal agency of UNESCO in India, The National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama in 2013, designated the Sangham with the responsibility of promoting and spreading the art across the nation. Soon after that, the organisation began its work to endorse the endangered art form and to make its presence felt in the modern era.