THRISSUR April 25: Kerala Kalamadalam Deemed University, the leading art and cultural institute of the state, has decided to send legal notice to soft drink major Pepsico India for portraying Kathakali in bad light in a television commercial to promote one of its brands.
The advertisement shows a person dressed in Kathakali costume performing break dance on a busy street and offering the soft drink to a girl who passes by.
"The university will demand the company to withdraw the commercial and apologize for showing the art form in poor taste," said vice chancellor of Kalamandalam, P N Suresh. "We are preparing a legal notice, which will send to the company in a couple of days. The company seemed to have withdrawn the advertisement from TV channels, but it is still running on YouTube," he said.
The ad film, which is one minute and four seconds long, has attracted lot of criticism from people on YouTube. "Kathakali is a highly respected art form. Please don't humiliate it like this. Remove this ad as soon as possible", reads one comment by Aravindan.
Ambili Mahesh writes, "Kathakali is not a dance you can learn in a month of two. It requires dedicated practice. This is extreme nonsense. You cannot perform 'dappamkuthu' with Kathakali costumes. This is touching the sentiments of those who love Kathakali."
Kalamandalam has also written to members of parliament from Kerala, asking them to form a law in the parliament against depicting classical art forms in bad light and conduct an awareness programme on the rich heritage of these arts.
Kalamandalam also requested to form a committee like sensor board with a power to take legal action against those who degrade traditional art forms.