BBC’s travel show presenter enacts Kathakali performance

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2016,13:50 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | Henry Golding, BBC’s ‘The Travel Show’ presenter, has lived with elephants in Kenya and cleared the debris of a devastating earthquake in the Philippines, but could have never imagined he would be part of Kerala’s traditional art form, Kathakali performance, one day. That happened in the New Year when on a visit to ‘God’s Own Country’, Golding enacted a Kathakali performance here on Saturday. While shooting an episode for ‘The Travel Show’ with its editor Mike London and producer Dawn Layke, Golding ventured onto the stage, becoming a part of the performance.

The performance was from ‘Narakasura Vadham’ (The Killing of Narakasura), an 18th century play, regularly staged in cultural events. The event had been organised for the BBC team, which was on a six-day visit to Kerala to film an episode on the state’s culture and nature-endowed destinations for ‘The Travel Show’, a Kerala Tourism release said today. During the performance, Golding wanted to try if he could dance like a Kathakali dancer and he did, said P K Devan of See India Foundation, which hosted the performance. The BBC crew filmed the dance of Golding as he did the same steps and movements of the characters Jayantha and Lalitha in the play.

Golding also tried the movements of eyes, feet and fingers, critical in a Kathakali performance, earning the applause of those watching the performance. Golding succeeded in bringing a classical dance form more close to the audience, said Devan, whose institution has been working to link Kathakali with other art forms across the world. Two years ago, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker Bowles had witnessed a similar Kathakali performance in Kochi. I don’t know what took me so long to come to Kerala.

Kerala’s beauty is unbelievable, Golding said. The BBC team, which spent two days in Kochi, also filmed the intricate make-up of Kathakali performers for the show. It will beam two episodes on ‘The Travel Show’ from Kerala. The first programme will be on Kathakali and will be broadcast in two weeks. The second one will include the backwaters and coconut tree climbing and will be broadcast in February. Both the programmes will be repeated later in the year, the release added.

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