Reinventing Kathaprasangam for modern times

At a time when Kathaprasangam is literally on the verge of extinction, here is a youth from Kozhikode’s Koodaranhi village who is passionate about making people aware of social issues through the art form. S.V. Jayesh, who made his entry into the field nearly 30 years ago, comes up with at least one production every month with the support of his two other team members.

“We make this art form survive among us by giving voice to contemporary issues and problems that affect people’s lives. Instead of recreating old stories, we weave our own stories and present them through this most entertaining art form,” says Jayesh, who was also a winner of several State-level contests during his school days. He says that Kathaprasangam has the power to easily capture the attention of people and convey messages in the form of entertainment.

Unlike those who train youngsters in the art form only for competitions, Jayesh is giving training to over 15 students from his village to make them professional artistes.

“During this COVID-19 time alone, we managed to produce 17 Kathaprasangam stories on diverse topics for public awareness. Our stories mostly deal with issues like drug abuse, assault on women, COVID-19 crisis and farmers’ struggle to survive amidst the wild animal menace,” says Jayesh who is now preparing for the presentation of an exclusive Kathaprasangam on E.M.S. Namboodiripad, the first Chief Minister of the State. “On all possible occasions, we try to solicit the support of the police and government departments for increasing the reach of the art-based awareness activities,” he adds.

The three-member team, including story writer Koombara Baby and music director Shaji Augustine, spend at least three to four hours every evening to discuss socially relevant stories and bring them to the audience. They use social media platforms to reach their audience.

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