The book that captures the world of Theyyam was launched with an enthralling performance of the art form by performers from Kannur.
India, 14th September, 2018: Environmentalist and writer-photographer Indu Chinta launched her debut book Theyyam: Merging with the Divine at Phoenix Arena, Hitech city, today. She released the book in the presence of eminent personalities Dr. K.V. Ramana IAS (R) Advisor, Government of Telangana; Mr.Soorya Krishnamoorthy, Founder, SOORYA Stage and Film Society; Professor Sachi Madhavan, The English and Foreign Languages University ; and Anju Babu, Founder- Director, Kathak Kshetra, among others. The book launch commenced with a Theyyam performance by Shri Santosh Panikkar and team from Kannur, Kerala. The author also read out some interesting excerpts from her book, giving the attendees an idea of what to expect from it.
At the end of the launch, Indu thanked everyone and said, “Theyyam is an artistic expression of religious worship, and it is hard not to be fascinated or spellbound by it. I felt the power when I watched my very first Theyyam performance. I was deeply moved by what I saw and I was in a trance myself. The image of the artist throwing himself on the fire mountain lingered on in my mind. But that was the instant I knew I wanted to capture at least some of the magic with my lens because an art form like Theyyam warrants visual documentation. I also knew I wanted to be instrumental in spreading the aura of Theyyam to an even wider audience, national and international.”
Though Indu is from Hyderabad, she was in Chennai for work and that’s when she decided to pursue her dream. Preserving cultural heritage is a cause which she fully believes in and a cause that is close to her heart. She worked her way through Tamil Nadu, where she visited Tanjore, Darasuram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Madurai, Mahabalipuram, and Rameswaram. From there, she went to Karnataka – Belur, Halebid, Sravanabelagola, Karkala, Sringeri, Udupi, and Mangalore. Kerala was obviously her next stop. There she was introduced to Theyyam where it cast a spell on her.
Dr. K. V. Ramana, IAS(R) , Advisor, Government of Telangana said , “Theyyam is an art form from Kerala and some parts of Karnataka. As Chindu Yakshagana is for Telangana, Yakshagana for Karnataka, Theyyam is for Kerala. This is performed in the rural areas and temples. Theyyam gives importance to worshipping Bhagavathi, as well as grama devata. This is a unique form usually performed in northern parts of Kerala and border areas of Karnataka. Indu Chinta, with support of Prof. Sachi Madhavan, Theyyam performers like Shri Balakrishnan and Santhosh Panikker, has delved into details of Theyyam and has transformed the performance into a book form, that is, Theyyam: Merging with the Divine. Though she is not a performer of Theyyam, she has done a deep study and brought out the meticulous details of Theyyam in this book.
I congratulate her for having done a stupendous job at her young age. I wish her to continue writing such books in the future also. I wish her the best.”
“Indu Chinta’s book on Theyyam, gives an enlightening experience on this ritualistic art form of kerala. The book beautifully tells how this art form takes a different pedestal amongst other art forms. We learn from the book that Theyyam is performed not to entertain but the Humans become Gds and they are in trance. They dance for the welfare of others and several of such observations make this book worthy of serious reading and to keep as a treasure in our home libraries. I am truly honored and happy to release the book “said Soorya krishnamoorthy
“Writing a book is an adventurous act. I congratulate and bless Indu for her successful debut endeavor. ‘Theyyam: Merging with the Divine’ preserves an invaluable legacy for the artists of future generations through captivating photographs and stories.” Said Anju Babu, Founder-Director, Kathak Kala Kshetra
Through this book, Indu aims to reach people from all over the world to convince them to witness and experience the same dynamism of Theyyam. When asked about her experience and what to expect from the book, Indu said, “I was totally in a different world for those five months that I spent in Kannur from January to May, visiting kavus and interacting with people there who still followed the ritual. Theyyam performers also helped me understand the intricacies of the ritual, which I tried showcasing through my book. Peppered with folktales and legends, the book is a photographic treat and tribute to the artists who pour life and soul into their every performance.”
The book is currently available on Amazon, Flipkart and bookstores across India.
About the Author:
Indu Chinta, an alumna of the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, is an environmentalist and writer-photographer. This outing gives shape to a cause close to her heart—preserving cultural heritage.