In Kerala’s rich cultural landscape, mimicry is a cornerstone of the state’s unique sense of humour. To be precise, this nuanced art form has gifted many artists to the Malayalam film industry. From prominent directors to actors, Malayalam filmdom is brimming with talented personalities who began their career as mimicry artist.
Now, with the Kerala government recognising mimicry as an art form, it will gain more impetus. According to a government statement, mimicry has been included in the list of recognised art forms by the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy. As a recognised art form, mimicry artists will be eligible for awards, scholarships, and fellowships.
Rather than being a mere form of entertainment, mimicry has been an integral part of Kerala’s comedy culture, weaving together social commentary, satire, and laughter in a seamless blend that resonates with audiences of all ages. Noted mimicry artist and satirist Kalabhavan K S Prasad said that mimicry has always been a satirical art form that evolved as a medium to present harsh realities in society in a humorous manner.
“Now it’s not just about impersonating famous personalities or mimicking their speech patterns but a nuanced art form that has evolved over the years to reflect the socio-political and cultural milieu,” he said, adding that recognition of mimicry as an art form will go a long way in attracting new talent and keeping this art form alive.
One of the key reasons for the prominence of mimicry in Kerala’s humor culture is its ability to provide a humorous lens through which society can examine itself. Mimicry artists often tackle contemporary issues, lampooning politicians, celebrities, and societal norms.
Even top politicians are subjects of the witty and often razor-sharp commentary delivered by mimicry artists in Kerala. “Mimicry is now what Chaakiyarkoothu and Kadha Prasangam were once. It has carved a niche for itself in Kerala’s humour culture, transcending mere imitation to become a powerful medium for social commentary and reflection,” Prasad added.