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Karmayogi - an adaptation of Shakespeare’s 'Hamlet'

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Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 13:06 [IST]

Karmayogi is an enchanting adaptation of Shakespeare"s radical revenge tragedy 'Hamlet', which is set in the feudal era. This Malayalam adaptation interweaves the culture and ritual of our ancient land and its narration glorifies traditions and rituals of medieval Kerala. Creativeland Pictures has collaborated with VK Prakash to throw open doors to the engulfing universe of Shakespeare"s imagination.

Director VK Prakash has done justice to one of the most prominent works of Shakespeare by crafting a detailed adaptation in harmony with creative liberty. One striking feature of the movie is 'Kelipatram", which plays a crucial role in the plot of Karmayogi. Kelipatram is a ritual based on an epic of Lord Siva, where a man discards all the comforts of life and visits each house to beg for a living. Only a person with passion and dedication can perform this ritual. Karmayogi incorporates this passion to follow one"s tradition into the narrative.

Another prominent element of the movie is 'Kalarippayattu", also known as 'Kalari", the well known martial art form practiced extensively in Kerala, which contains 18 tricks of combat. This also is an integral part of 'Hamlet". Similar to Hamlet"s raging clashes, Karmayogi has arresting fight sequences based on the knowledge of 'Yogisamudayam" - the only clan of people, who mastered the 19th trick in Kalaripayattu. The scientific fact to the 19th trick (fighting in disguise of another form) is that of speed which causes an illusion of a change in form.

Poorakkali, the traditional dance ritual of Kerala, performed by a troop of young men plays a crucial role in the film, parallel to the play 'The Murder of Gonzago" in 'Hamlet". Performed during the nine-day Pooram festival in Bhagavathy temples across Northern Kerala, Poorakkali is meant to entertain as well as to spread knowledge. Decked in Lion costumes the men dance around a huge multi-tiered lamp, also known as 'nilavilukku". The dance involves masculine movements and acrobats and martial art steps. The dancers keep rhythm by singing, clapping and synchronized foot-thumping movements. The basis of the dance is essentially the memories of 'Vasanthapooja", performed by inmates of different worlds like heaven, earth, etc.

Shot in the mystical and lush green North Malabar region of Wayanad, Kasargode, Kannur, etc., Rudran (Hamlet) explores the journey from indecision to the final act of vengeance. Karmayogi emphasizes the hero"s dilemma rather than the portrayal of bloody acts. The tragedy establishes Karmayogi as dramatic as Shakespeare"s Hamlet.

Directed by the National Award winning film maker V.K. Prakash, the Screenplay is written by Balram Mattannur who has also written Kaliyattam, and the music is given by Ousephachan. The movie is produced by Creativeland Pictures. The star cast includes Indrajith, Siju Kurup, Thalaivasal Vijay, Ashokan, MR Gopakumar, Padmini Kolhapure and Nithya Menon. 

Topics: karmayogi, vk prakash, indrajith, siju kurup, padmini kolhapure, nithya menon
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