Kathakali was said to be 'the king of arts' and 'the art of kings'. Kathakali which was known to be the typical artform of Kerala has now become a global artform. Kathakali was developed from 'Ramanattam' by famous kings like Kottayathu Thamburan, SriKarthikathirunalMaharajavu.
                                     Kathakali is an artform which gives primary importance to make-up. Pacha, Kathi, Kari, Thaadi, Minukku etc. are the main costumes of Kathakali. Pacha is used for aristocratic and brave characters like Arjuna. KathiVesham is for antiheros like Duryodhana,  Ravana etc. KariVesham is for rude characters like Kaataalan, Shoorpanakha etc. ThaadiVesham, is divided into Chuvannathaadi, Vellathaadi and Karinthaadi. Chuvannathaadi is for cruel characters like Dussaasana, Bakan etc. , Vellathaadi for Hanuman and Karinthaadi for Kali. For Naarada and Vasishta, Maharshimudi and beard  is used. For female characters MinukkuVesham is used.

The word 'aattam' means acting. The situation in which more than one character acts together was known as Koodiyattom earlier. But now the solo performance of Chakyar on stage is known as Koothu and the dramatic performance is known as Koodiyattoam. Chakyars,  Nambiars and Nangyars are the performers of Koodiyattom. Chakyars - to act, Nambyars- to play the instruments like Mizhavu , and Nangyars- to sing .

Chakyarkoothu was a temple art performed by Chakyars. Stories from Puranas were explained in this artform. Chakyar koothu is a solo item. Nambyar plays the Mizhavu which makes the enacting more communicative. Koothu is performed in the Koothambalams of temples in front of a Nilavilakku.

Ottanthullal is a famous art form of Kerala. KunjanNambiar is known to be the father of Thullal. There is a story that Nambiar developed Thullal to wreak vengeance to Chakyar who humiliated him on a stage. Ottan , Seethangan and Parayan are the three forms of Thullal.

Mohiniyattam is an ancient art form which originated almost 600 years back and  was performed in the temples. It is performed only by women. Sri Swathithirunal was the person who developed the art into today's level. In this art form the performer considers herself as the heroin and  the Lord Vishnu becomes the Hero. Dasiyattam' (as it was known earlier) was developed and arranged to cholkkettu, Jathiswaram etc. of present Mohiniyattam by dancers like Vadivelu, Chinnayya, Ponnayya. The steps in Mohiniyattam are slow. The costume of Mohiniyattam is an off-white 'pudava' worn in traditional Kerala style. The performance lastes for almost 2-3 hours. A singer would sing and the instruments like Maddhalam, Kuzhithalam, Idakka etc. would be played backstage.



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