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Why Bollywood is crazy about 'Kalaripayattu'

By: Rohit Vats


Last Updated: April 10, 2013, 15:02 IST

Why Bollywood is crazy about 'Kalaripayattu'

Vidyut is ready to hit the silver screen, literally, with his latest film 'Commando - A One Man Army'.

New Delhi: Vidyut Jamwal made his presence felt as a villain in 'Force' (2011) and kept John Abraham on his toes throughout the film. Once again, Vidyut is ready to hit the silver screen, literally, with his latest film 'Commando - A One Man Army' in which he is all set to showcase his martial art skills.

Vidyut is said to have trained in the ancient Indian form of martial art called Kalaripayattu for 'Commando'. Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest warfare techniques practiced in South India.

Kalaripayattu originated in Kerala and it's a combination of attack, defence and healing. There is a reason why Kalaripayattu is treated as the mother of all popular martial art forms. Most of the martial art forms include attacking and defending but rarely does an art thinks of the consequences. Kalaripayattu becomes important here as it consists of some therapy methods as well.

Many communities including the Nairs and Ezhavas provide a patronage to Kalaripayattu which is also helpful in becoming a good dancer. Sometimes, Kathakali dancers use Kalaripayattu to give a new dimension to their performance.

Kalaripayattu is no lesser than a rhythmic dance if performed with attention. It uses weapons as well which adds charm to the synchronisation of the fighters. Hollywood adopted the classic style of aerial fighting long back and the resultant was a mesmerising fight sequence in films such as 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' and 'Kill Bill'.

Later, Jackie Chan brought a new perspective to it when he invited G Sathyanarayanan, an expert of Kalaripayattu, to take part in the shooting of 'The Myth'. Chan probably realised that the skills required to practice Kalaripayattu in its purest form have their roots in ancient oriental traditions. Further, Kalari, the place or school where the pupils are trained, has similarities with Shaolin temples, a tradition well known to Jackie Chan.
Kalaripayattu lost a bit of its importance when the British masters introduced the modern means of warfare. Technically advanced weapons hampered the essence of Kalaripayattu which was more helpful during the guerrilla wars. However, films came to its rescue and once again it started rising in prominence. Films like 'Ondanondu kaladalli', 'Indian' and 'Asoka' brought it to the public view and then 'The Myth' made it international. Doug Lefler's 2007 film 'The Last Legion', which starred Colin Firth, also showcased Kalaripayattu. Japanese comic books have also explored the possibility of blending Kalaripayattu with other martial art forms. At one point of time, Asin and Kamal Haasan were supposed to work in a film based on Kalaripayattu.

Now, all eyes are on Vidyut, and if he performs Kalariayattu properly then it will be another firm step to promote this ancient Indian fighting technique.

first published:April 10, 2013, 15:02 IST
last updated:April 10, 2013, 15:02 IST