© C. Giron/CNRS janvier 2003
Up until the 1960s, under the patronage of the local rajahs and major landowners, the practice of Kathakali developed into a form of theatre characteristic of Kerala, within the institutionalized context of the Kalamandalam school. In Kathakali, Sanskrit theatre consists of three elements. Only one is presented here; it is Nrityam, the dramatic element, in which the actor's feelings are conveyed by facial expression, combined with a series of symbolic gestures (mudra and hastamudra). The actor, Kalamandalam Sivadasam, expresses the feelings of love, contempt, sadness, anger, power, terror, dislike, astonishment, and serenity, before putting on his stage make-up.