The Characters

KATHAKALI characters represent the mythological beings of the three worlds—the upper world of the devas (gods), the middle world of humans and the nether world of the asuras (demons). The striking make-up and costume are designed to transform the actors both mentally and physically into the types of characters they are to portray. With the exception of the female characters and the gentle ones like sages and holy men, all characters have their faces painted over in bright colours: basically green for the heroes, gods and kings, red and black for those who are wicked and fierce, and various elaborate designs for the animal types.