is a theatre form, which portrays character through song,
dance and acting, with a stress on character-portrayal.
The famous Kalapams are Bhama Kalapam and Golla Kalapam,
other theatre forms which do not have Kalapam as part of
their name, were also popular - Koravanji Vesham, Koorakuta
Vesham, Pantulu Pathani Vesham, etc. Usually it is a single
incident elaborated to bring out the psychological and social
nuances in a character. Because of it's association with
classical drama, it is sometimes mistakenly called Veedhinatakam
or Veedhi Bhagavatham.
word 'Kalapam' has various meanings; it means a bund,
a group, and a collection. Accordingly the art form, Kalapam,
actually happens to be a collection of songs, in various
metres, strung together by the artist. For example, the
Kuchipudi School includes songs from Gita Govinda in their
Bhama Kalapam. The dance-song of 'Dasavataram' is a must
in their repertoire. Similarly, songs depicting the pranks
of the child, Krishna, (Krishna Lila) are included in Bhama
Kalapam, and the story of Ramayana in Chodigani Kalapam.
These inclusions of various types of songs and dances not
only extended the performance to be night-long one, but
adds variety and wide understanding of the story.
The Kalapam stands midway between the Yakshaganam and Veedhinatakam.
Kalapam added new specificities. Though there is only one
actor in Kalapam, he is added by a second actor, who serves
both as the Sustradhara and the Vidushaka. While the acting
part is retained with the main actor, the descriptive-narrative
parts are taken over by the second actor, who is the new
addition in the Kalapam. Secondly, Kalapam introduced a
feature of the character's self-introduction. The entrance
song as it is called (pravesa-daruvu) is elaborated in the
classical form of the Kalapam, whereas in the folk form,
it is short and crisp.
songs are usually couplet sequences of various metres called
kalika, utkalika, dwipada manjari and ragada. They might
also be stanzas comprising four lines like taruvoja and
utsaha. All of them, when sung to a dance, are called daruvu,
and are of varying length. They contain a 'Pallavi' and
can be sung and danced in different time-scales. Originally,
it is believed, that a cluster of four such songs was called
Kalapam, which, in course of time, is given to the entire