- Language: Malayalam
- City / State: New Delhi
- Directed By: Bineesh K
- Produced By: Dravida Entertainments
This play is a re-reading of a classic text and attempts to break societal prejudices which revolve around its protagonists, Karigurukkal and his love, Vellachi. It invites us to deconstruct Karigurukkal’s enigma and questions the morals of a society which has for long marginalized Dalits and forbidden them the ‘fruit of knowledge’ leaving them in the darkness of ignorance.
Manikandan Rajan: Kari Gurukkal
Sreejith Sundar: Pottan Theyyam
Garggi Ananthan: Kurathi Theyyam/ Chodhiyar
Athira VP: Vellachi
Minnu TM: Virunthi
Ayman Abdhulla: Upper Caste Person
Sreeraj Raj: Upper Caste Person
Narayanan P: Gulikan Theyyam
Govind S: Kunjaanan 1
Ajith Kumar: Kunjaanan 2
Subin KK: Chorus Actor
Fidha PH: Chorus Actor
Meenakshi M: Chorus Actor
Roshin Paul K: Chorus Actor
Pradhul PC: Chorus Actor
Hiran PV: Chorus Actor
Suresh KT: Percussion
Sarath K Devadas: Percussion
Nimish Kumar KK: Percussion
Rejeesh KR: Live Singer
Bineesh K: Director and Choreographer
Sarin Lal: Makeup Artist
Vaishak Krishnaprasad: Stage Design
Suresh Kuttyraman: Light Design
Sajas Rahman: Light Design
Aswanth Nambair: Light Execution
Ramya Suvi: Costume Design
Sanal Dev: Innovative Sound / Music Design
Abhishek Sukumaran: Music Execution
Divya G: Stage Manager / Project Designer / Representative of Dravida Entertainments
Jubith Namradath: Team lead/ Lyricist / Representative of Dravida Entertainments
Sreejith Ramanan: Physical Trainer
Sarun Bhaskar: Ritual Makeup Artist
Saneesh TV: Subtitle Specialist
The original play, Pulijanmam, was written by N. Prabhakaran in 1987. The events portrayed are timeless, due to the powerful images and issues it raises, which was the compelling reason to stage this masterpiece again.
In the play, the protagonist Kari Gurukkal, a master of 18 martial arts, leaves his life and belongings behind to find a solution to the madness of the ruler and the anxiety of the people. The plot mainly deals with Kari’s internal conflicts and is relevant in the present socio-political scenario. The words by Pottan Theyyam, a folklore god, in the course of the play are relevant in today’s times - "Insecurity of power leads to madness and anxiety". As Kari leaves for Puliyoor Kunnu to get the milk and skin of a tiger and thus heal the ruler, he is aware of his impending death.
Why has he embraced this fatal journey?
This very question is the propelling force behind the representation of Kari who questions the existing system which forces him to take up the journey. The folklore god - regionally known as, Theyyam, the Pottan, the Kurathi or the Gulikan - who obstructs Kari’s path on his journey up to Puliyoorkunnu, represents his self-criticism. He, himself is the one who questions, answers, debates and disagrees. It all ends where it started and goes on again. The circular formation and choreography of the play symbolizes and enhances this idea.
The form of the play largely depends upon the presentation of Theyyam, a unique ritual art performance of northern Kerala. Theyyam is about possessing oneself with the myth of God and communication to the devotees. The different elements of folk culture can be seen in the sets, costumes and music either overtly or in other symbolic ways.
In the original text, Vellachi, Kari’s wife, is frightened to see Kari as a tiger and runs away. But, in our play, Vellachi questions the hegemony of the upper caste and the madness of egos. In this patriarchal society, I believe women must raise their voices to challenge the status quo. We have also included 3 characters from Kari Gurukkal’s myth - namely Chothiyaar, Karimban and Viruthi - which adds power to the narrative of the play. The play tries to explore the question - what really happened to Kari after he decided to go up the hills of Puliyoormala?