Noted as one of the oldest dance forms, Kathakali is an integral part of the Hindu culture in Kerala. Katha means story and Kali is drama in Malayalam. Based on the vedas, the performance brings the Samaveda (lyrical form of the vedas) to life. The intricate facial paint is non-toxic and made using rice paste. Each color denotes the nature of the character—Green is a Godly/heroic character, yellow is for female or saintly role and red stands for a demon or villain. Many don’t realize that women don’t partake in this art form—all performers are male. The white beard is akin to a halo—demi-gods; evil or kind can have one.
If you do visit Kerala, you can catch a short 30-something minute performance. But a small request is that once there, please try not to use flash photography. It neither helps to get a great click and it is utterly disrespectful to the dancers and the people watching with you. These are non-flash photographs. They dancers may have gotten used to the practice, but they don’t have to endure it if we don’t put them through it.