Chavittunatakam, a foot-stamping dance drama originated under the influence of Christian Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century, was a popular art form in Kerala for a long time. The actors, in addition to singing the songs in a mix of colloquial languages, attractive costumes, dialogue and lively body movements, stamp wooden platform with their feet to the beat of music. Though the characters in this art form were initially biblical, as years passed, the drama imbibed the elements of social contexts, morals and bhakti movements.
Some Malayalam movies like Cheriyachante, Krurakrithyangal, Chamayam, Thommanum Makkalum and Kizhakkan Pathrose had featured some sequences with this folk art in their backdrop. Today, this art form is facing extinction because there are hardly any people to encourage it.
However, renowned filmmaker Shaji N. Karun"s latest movie Kutty Shranku is to feature Mammootty as a Chavittunatakam artist. Kamalinee Mukherjee, one of the heroines, will be cast as the daughter of a Chavittunatakam teacher.
Shooting of the film has started at the backwaters of Alappuzha, and a thattu (platform for the art form) has been constructed. Thirty artists including Mammootty are being trained in the various steps of the art form by Fr. V.P. Joseph of 'Aalappuzha Pauranika Ranga Kala Peedom' to support their realistic performances in the movie.
The film is produced by Reliance Entertainment under the banner of Big Motion Pictures, the first-ever production by Anil Ambani's newly launched entertainment concern in Malayalam. It will be shot in three schedules in and around Alappuzha. As the film is based on the change in seasons, environmental and climatic changes, the second and third schedule of the movie will be shot by the end of September and December respectively.