There is confidence in her voice as she speaks about her maiden Mudiyettu performance that took place at Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi. It was a historic moment, as in Mudiyettu, the traditional folk dance drama that enacts the mythological tale of the battle between Goddess Kali and demon Darika, women do not dress up and perform as Kali. But then Bindu Narayana Marar, who hails from Piravom, boldly took that step. It was a prestigious moment for her to wear the headgear of the Kali.
“I don’t know why women stayed away from this so far. The artiste should observe lent prior to the performance. He/she should abstain from having liquour and non-vegetarian food,” says Bindu. All these were not obstacles for her. “I don’t drink and I am a pure vegetarian. Also, I believe that the purity of mind is the most required and crucial element. We should perform with devotion.”
Bindu was a nurse before turning to Mudiyettu. She runs the Pazhoor Damodara Marar and Pazhoor Narayana Marar Smaraka Gurukulam troupe that began in 2013. It was from her late husband and father-in-law that she learnt the art form.
“They were into this. After their demise, their Mudiyettu set was taken away by my husband’s relatives to start their own troupe. That hurt me. I wanted to retain their name; and so began the troupe. Since I had no Mudiyettu set, I borrowed it from a team in Puttumanoor. The next year, I bought it,” says Bindu, who later got married to Santhosh Kumar. “His support is immense.” So far, she has been managing the group. “Only now did I acquire the confidence for performance although the desire has been on my mind for a long time.”
Bindu was not at all nervous to take the historic leap. “I was not afraid. In fact, I was thrilled to do this. Only those who are close to me knew about this,” says the artiste, who admires Kali. “I became a devotee of Kali after going through a rough phase in my life. As a widow, I encountered the harsh side of society. I always wanted to abolish those prejudices. That is how I got close to the concept of Kali, who eliminates evil.”
Bindu is confident about performing Mudiyettu now and wishes to take this forward. She plans to expand her activities. “I want to commence a museum, art gallery and library for research students. My father-in-law had written about Mudiyettu. I am planning to compile and keep those for reference. I want the next generation to read and study the art form,” she signs off.