Therukkoothu | தெருக்கூத்து

This July end my friend Balaji informed about a therukkoothu happening at Madambakkam and myself along with Balaji and Kowshik had a chance to attend to and document it.
The place was dimly lit for the camera and lighting was highly challenging. An opportunity i got to take high iso, dark, high contrast, noisy shots. I favour them very much 😀

Therukkoothu, the folk dance/play of Tamizhnadu is conducted on the streets with an wooden bench to seat the singers and musical troupe. Behind this is the dressing area. The troupe head informed that it would start by 11Pm and will go on till 5am in the morning.

We tried to cover the dressing and the play for an hour.

I hope the following pictures can tell you much about it.

god bless

Every play starts after worshiping God, playing the musical instruments and singing songs.

head gear

After worshipping god, the troupe starts to dress up. This include wearing the traditional attire, crown, breast shields, face masks, etc and face painting that depict the character.

make up kit

This is their makeup kit. Face painting includes only natural colors. They are bright colors which gives an exaggerated look of the character.

group head

An artist painting his face all by himself. No makeup men, no hair stylist. Every artist dress up all by themselves.

stick brush

A small mirror to see themselves and a thin wooden stick for a brush is all they use, yet they brilliantly paint their face.

pink Face

Another artist use the same to paint his face.



Same kind of mask being worn by an artist. The color of the face paint would be used to identify the character.

full up

Fully geared up.


The stage is set. The actors perform in a very theatrical manner. They deliver their speeches in high-sounding and sometimes even exaggerated words. They have to be loud enough to catch the attention of the spectators through their voice only as there is no support from modern day microphones as such. Their costumes glitter and words thunder to the accompaniment of the necessary music.


An artist wearing a mask. This covers the head, the ears and have a wig of thick moustache.


Therukkoothu does not allow the womenfolk as performers. Only men can take part and even the female roles are played by the men folk. Here a man dress up like a woman.


They dance and sing all by themselves and move rapidly with high energy. Its fun and frolic all the way.


A part of the play.


leg noise

In just 2 hours we were fully exhausted taking pictures and decided to go home. But the street play was going on and they would perform till morning. Their energy and ability amazed me and would continue to inspire me.

© 2011 MRKrishnamoorthy. All Rights Reserved. Please do not use these photographs without my permission. If you wish to use the above photographs for non commercial purpose, please contact me.


12 responses

  1. Wow! Sema thala….

    October 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm

  2. Superb documentary mrk

    October 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm

  3. kalspics

    good going thala
    keep up good work

    October 17, 2011 at 7:47 pm

  4. Akilan

    semmaiya irukku thala…. lovely candid shots…..

    October 18, 2011 at 12:50 am

  5. beauutiful shots and great narrative.i really enjoyed your work.
    i also do photo stories. do visit my blog at http://www.saurabhmittalphotography.blogspot.com

    October 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

  6. Srivatsaa

    Wonderful 🙂 keep going

    October 18, 2011 at 8:17 am

  7. Great shots !!

    October 18, 2011 at 8:20 am

  8. very nice series MRK

    October 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

  9. suresh babu

    level maaruthu MRK… superb..

    -suresh babu

    October 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm



    October 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm

  11. Kaarthik RM

    Superb man….!!!! idhellam print la patha innum supera irukkum…. 🙂

    October 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm

  12. Jasan Pictures

    Nice series Krisk…

    October 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm

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