Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Thullal and Aattakkatha

In the 17th and 18th centuries Malayalam literature flourished thanks to the growth of performing arts in Kerala. Kathakali’s literary version ‘Attakkatha’ and  Kunchan Nambiar’s ‘Thullal’ paved the way for new developments in the field.  The compositions of Unnayi Warrier, Kottayathu Thampuran, and Irayimman Thampi are some of the famous ‘Attakatha’ compositions.

Nalacharitham Aattakkatha written by Unnayi Warrier is an all-time classic. Thullal lyrics enriched Malayalam poetry because Kunchan Nambiar rejected the strong dependence on Sanskrit that earlier poetry had. He wrote in simple Malayalam of the common man. Ramapurathu Warrier’s Kuchela Vritham, written in the vanchipattu (boat song) metre, is yet another popular creation of the era.

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