Esplanade Presents

Theatre | Storytelling

IPAC 2023: Mahishasuravadham – The slaying of Mahishasura

Indian Performing Arts Convention 2023

In collaboration with Apsaras Arts Dance Company

Kapila Venu, Kalamandalam Rajeev, Kalamandalam Hariharan and Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan (India)

23 Jun 2023, Fri, 8pm

1hr 30mins

(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Theatre Studio

This event is over.


Inspired by Devi Mahatmyam and Devi Bhagavatham, this performance rendered through koodiyattam—one of the oldest living theatre traditions of the world from Kerala, India—tells the classic tale of the slaying of Mahishasura by the goddess Devi. 


Once a young man, Mahishasura was offered a boon by the divine Brahma upon the completion of his penance, lasting over ten thousand years. He asked to be immortal, but was instead granted invulnerability against any man or male species who tried to kill him. As such, Brahma blessed Mahisahsura with death at the hands of a woman.


Having been granted his wish, Mahishasura became very powerful and conquered lands great and far, until there was none left to take over. He set his eyes out on claiming heaven, engaging the gods in a battle. However, due to his blessing, Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma and Indra were all no match for him. They fled, finding refuge in the mountains to think of a solution to this problem. 


The gods gathered their collective energy to create a massive light, from which the most resplendent and powerful devi emerged on a ferocious lion, with eighteen arms all wielding different weapons. She created fear in the heart of the asuras and awe in the heart of the gods, and set out towards the battlefield blowing her conch.


Provoked by the sound, Mahishasura sought Devi out and immediately fell in love with her beauty. He set out to the battlefield in disguised, and is struck by the arrows of Kama, the god of love. He made a marriage proposal to Devi, followed by a threat: either marry him or face a battle. 


His words infuriated Devi, who immediately set out to battle with Mahishasura. Devi drank over and over from her chalice of wine and when drunken, beheaded Mahishasura. Thus, Devi restored balance in the world and restored heaven back to the gods. 


This programme is supported by Mudra Cultural Society, Singapore.

Admission Age:
6 and above
Language: Sanskrit
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Artist Information

Kapila Venu

Website | Kapila Venu's Facebook | Instagram | Natanakairali's Facebook

Kapila Venu is a practitioner of koodiyattam – one of the oldest living theatre traditions of the world, from Kerala, India.


She is a disciple of the legendary maestro Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar and renowned exponents Guru G Venu and Guru Usha Nangiar . 


She is also a practitioner of mohiniyattam classical dance which she studied from her mother Guru Nirmala Paniker. 


She has been travelling around the world performing, teaching and giving workshops on koodiyattam for over two decades now. 


She has studied with renowned Japanese avant-garde dancer Min Tanaka and has performed in two of his choreographies – Rite of the Forest (–2005) and Thottangal (–2007). 


She has also had long-standing collaborations with internationally acclaimed artistes and scholars such as Dr. Eberhard Fischer, Peter Oskarson and Wally Cardona. 


She is a guest faculty at the National School of Drama, New Delhi and a Master Teacher at the Intercultural Theatre Institute, Singapore. 


A film on the life and work of Kapila Venu titled Kapila, directed by Sanju Surendran won the National Award for the best film on culture at the 62nd National Film Awards from the Government of India, 2014. 


Kapila has been awarded the highest honour for young artistes from the Govt. of India – Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, Kumar Gandharva Samman from the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh and the Sanskriti Award from the Sanskriti Pratisthan. 

Date & Time

23 Jun 2023, Fri


Esplanade Theatre Studio
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs, Seniors & PWDs

Price $35 $22

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