Kathaprasangam is an art of story telling which blends speech, act and music together. It is a performing art of Kerala. The performer is known as Kaathikan. A Kaathikan should be an orator, singer and an actor – a multi-talented person to effectively perform on the stage as it is a solo performance.
History of Kathaprasangam
The origin of the Kathaprasangam is from Kerala and the first stage show was estimated to be in 1920. Kathaprasangam has taken shape from other art forms like Harikatha, Harikatha Kalakshepam, Katha Kalakshepam and Satkatha Kalakshepam. It is also influenced by artforms like Chakyar Koothu and Paadhakam.
Kathaprasangam started as a solo performance by Kaathikan with the help of an instrument names “Chaplaankatta”. Later improvements were made on the performance and instruments like Tabla, Violin, Harmonium etc. were introduced to accompany the Kaathikan in the background.
Kathaprasangam shows were mainly on devotional themes. The works of great poets like Kumaran Ashan, Vallathol Narayana Menon, Ulloor S. Parameshwara Iyer, Changampuzha Krishna Pillai were later chosen for the Kathaprasangam performance.
Some of the Legends
Legends of Kathaprasangam include Sri Satya Devan, Joseph Kaimaparamban, Kedamangalam Sadanandan and many more.
Many artistes have contributed much to the growth of Kathaprasangam like M. P. Manmadhan, K. K. Vadhyar, P. C. Abraham, Kedamangalam Sadanandan, Joseph Kaimaparamban, Kadhikaratnam Mavelikara S.S.Unnithan, V. Sambasivan, Kollam Babu, V. Harsha Kumar, Kallada V. V. Kutty, Paravur Sukumaran, V. D. Rajappan, Vatakara V Asokan, Nadakkal Ashokkumar, Gopika Vazhuthacaud, Sekharan Vadyar, Swami Brahmavruthan, Keshava Panicker, Cherthala Bhavani Amma, Ammini Brahmani Amma, Thiruvalla Ponnamma etc.
V. Sambasivan and V.D Rajappan brought a new life to the Kathaprasangam art form. It was second to drama in terms of popularity. However, with the arrival of other new art forms, Kathaprasangam has lost its popularity.