The theme…the colors….the figures…the pictorial depiction of thousand words. Art forms can speak more than words could explain and could get into us more than a needle can pierce. Not all people can read books, not all people can understand paintings, but every soul on earth would understand actions and emotions. Terukuttu is the emotion and voice of thousands of Tamilians.

Terukuttu is a Tamil street theatre practiced for more than a century in Tamil Nadu and the Tamil-speaking regions of Sri Lanka. The Terukkuttu plays are a combination of music, dance, and drama along with "clever stage tricks". The well-designed costumes, the ornaments, the properties, the stage, and the attractive setup, could pull in the play and make you enjoy every second of it. Therkuttu depicts old Puranas and epic stories. They are represented in the form of drama with songs and are made to entertain people. The vocals along with the instruments and the music for the background. The harmonium, drums, and cymbals for the tracks and dance depict narratives. Terrukuttu is not just a single art, it's a combination of them. 

Terukuttu is not only about showcasing the oldest Puranas and stories to people, the acting speaks more than that. The songs, the well-written lyrics, and the play also speak about social issues. The narratives are the voices of those who can't speak and the actions are the wake-up call for the long-awaited change. It was not just used as a medium of entertainment and as a ritual. Terukuttu acted as social instructions and the way those artists truly expressed themselves on behalf of the unvoiced, triggered emotions in people and woke them up from the clutches of Britain. Many rebellious performances have been made and rebellions have been carried out through terrukuttu. Art can speak on behalf of thousands and could reach millions. Terrukuttu is not just about street theater, it's a beautiful expression of human emotion.

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The artists paint themselves and wear beautiful costumes and set up a small stage on a side of the road and would give notice to people around the place to join them. The duration varies from an hour to overnight. The vibrant themes, the appealing colors, the acting, and the lyrics could never match any cinematic films that have ever taken in the century. There is no cut, no edit, no filters, no glycerin. People express themselves and their character and they become artists.

They don’t wear makeup to look good, they wear paints and masks to portray characters and act so that audience could get the essence of the play. No Dolby speaker can replace the astounding voice of the artist and no effects could replace the emotion in their voices. They don't make millions as actors do, they don't do it for the money. Art forms are never made for money or rewards. They are the way that people used to express themselves. The unspoken words through paintings and thousand emotions through acting are all art is about. Expression.

Terrukuttu is centered around Chasity and the moral power of as cherished values. Apart from being a ritual and an enactment of Mahabharata and Ramayana, they emphasize the moral values among people. The emphasis on the role of Draupadi, depicts the problems faced by women, the role of Karna, Arjunan, Ramar, and many more teach us a life lesson along with entertainment. The effect of war, the preaching of Bhagavath Geetha, and the beautiful enactment of love and affection don’t just entertain people, it educates them and spread awareness among them.

Time has changed, technologies are developed, and people can now watch a movie in the palm of their hands. You can watch movies in your palm, but the true art lies behind the screens of your phone. They lie on a stage, maybe on the roadside, or in temples, or indoor halls. Where artists sing, dance, and act wearing costumes and makeup just to show the talent they possess and preach to our generation the values of art and our culture. The job of persevering our heritage is in each and everyone’s hands and the respect towards our art and the artist who brings smiles to our faces with their heartwarming performances should be appreciated As the cinematic theatre and entertainment center grows, we tend to forget one of the oldest tradition we once possessed. Each state has its art and the recognition for them decreases.

No art can be destroyed but it can be buried along with its artists. I am not asking anyone to perform their cultural art. There are people out there doing it, all we need to do is to give them the appreciation they deserve. Carrying art for thousands of years is a legacy. Let the legacy live and be followed.

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