India | Tamil Nadu


Kattaikkuttu, also called Terukkuttu, a theater of ritual and entertainment, is a popular one in the northern parts of Tamil Nadu. The name 'Kattaikkuttu' is derived from the special ornaments called 'kattai' (kattai camankal), worn by a specific category of heroic characters called 'kattai veshams.' The theater has different forms and sub-styles according to the places where it is performed; it is performed on the occasion of a Hindu religious festival, a funeral or a special celebration in a village.

Kattaikkuttu, a combination of song, music, dance and drama is performed in auditoriums and in the open-air during the night and lasts from 10 pm to 6 am the next morning. The south Indian system of Carnatic music, rhythmical patterns and melodies are normally used in the performance. The orchestra accompanying the players consists of a Harmonium, two drums, a mukavinai and two sets of hand cymbals. Kattaikkuttu employs sophisticated makeup and costumes rich in colour.

Kattaikkuttu has a close association with the social, economic, religious and communicative domains of contemporary village life. Earlier it was only performed by men, but now women are also involved.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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