Bharathakoothu X: Final Kurukshetra Battle

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Published on: 26 September 2018

M.D. Muthukumaraswamy

M.D. Muthukumaraswamy is a Tamil writer, Director of National Folklore Support Centre, Chennai and Consultant at Sahapedia.

The enactment of the final battle between Bhima and Duryodhana, known as Padukalam, is the most spectacular event in the cycle of Bharathakoothu performances. For the performance, the ground adjacent to the Draupadi Amman temple is transformed into the dramatic space of Kurukshetra by constructing a slain mud statue of Duryodhana. In some villages, the figure of Duryodhana is shaped as a stucco sculpture and then partially destroyed during the enactment of Padukalam. The actors playing Bhima and Duryodhana dressed in their Koothu costumes run around Duryodhana's statue chasing each other. Finally, when Bhima hits Duryodhana on the thigh, Duryodhana collapses and dies on the statue, while the storytellers narrate what is happening in the field of Kurukshetra. On one side of the ground, the villagers bring in a Kali icon who watches the destruction of the war; while on the other side, Aravan watches the battle through the eyes of his severed head. ​