What is Thullal?

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What is Thullal? Blog Image


Recently, a traditional art Ottanthullal of Kerala which has a history of over 300 years was performed in Kerala School Kalolsavam 2023.

About Thullal 

  • It is a recite-and-dance art form of Kerala, which was introduced in the 18th century by the famous Malayalam poet Kunchan Nambiar (1705 - 1770).
  • It is famous for its humour and social satire and is marked by its simplicity.
  • It follows the classical principles of Natyasasthra (a treatise on art compiled in the 2nd century B.C.E).
  • It is enacted into three separate versions
    • Ottanthullal
    • Seethankan thullal
    • Parayan thullal
  • The Ottanthullal is the most popular among the three varieties of Thullal.
  • The performance uses elaborate expressions and stories recited in verses to bring important mythological tales and stories to life.
  • The costume and makeup of the performer are similar to that of a Kathakali artist.
  • It is performed at temple festivals and cultural programmes.
  • The Thullal performer is supported by a singer who repeats the verses and is accompanied by an orchestra of mridangam or thoppimaddalam (percussions) and cymbals.


Q1) What is Natyashastra?

The Nātya Shastra (Nātyaśāstra नाट्य शास्त्र) of Bharata is the principal work of dramatic theory, encompassing dance and music, in classical India. It is attributed to the muni (sage) Bharata and is believed to have been written during the period between 200 B.C.E. and 200 C.E

Source: Mythological tales, Ottanthullal , Seethankan thullal, Parayan thullal, Temple festivals