Kutiyattam: The Heritage Theatre of India, is the first major book on this vibrant theatre tradition that existed in India from the times of the Natya Sastra. It traces the history and evolution of Kutiyattam through different ages, its aesthetics and theatre grammar as well as the challenges in its transmission to a new generation of artists and viewers.
Kutiyattam has its own distinctive theatrical conventions and acting methods, with highly sophisticated facial expressions and an exceptional vocabulary of gestures. It is the art of elaboration of action through extending the performance score to unbelievable heights of imaginative fancy. UNESCO acknowledged Kutiyattam as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in its first proclamation on Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2001. The book also includes the translationof the performance manual of Asokavanikanakam of Saktibhadra’s play Ascharyachudamani as an illustrative example.
Sudha Gopalakrishnan is a scholar on India’s traditional arts forms with a focus on the performing arts of Kerala. Her books include From the Comic to the Comedic (a comparative analysis of the comic mode in the plays of Bhasa and Shakespeare), Krishnagiti (translation of the source text of Krishnattam with CR Swaminathan), Nalacharitam (translation of the Kathakali text and performance manual) and Kaikottikkalippattukal (compilation of the oral tradition of songs of the art of Kaikottikkali, in collaboration with Radha Madhavan). She is a trained dancer of Kathakali and was Vice President of Margi (Thiruvananthapuram).
Sudha Gopalakrishnan was also the founder director of the National Mission for Manuscripts, which led the national effort to source and place information on one million manuscripts on http://www.namami.org. She was associated with UNESCO’s intangible heritage stream as an expert and was responsible for three successful nomination dossiers of India to UNESCO, which resulted in the proclamation of Kutiyattam, Vedic Chanting and Ramlila as ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. Currently, she is President, SAHA and is working to create Sahapedia, a knowledge portal on Indian knowledge systems, heritage and the arts. She lives in New Delhi.