The Adaption of Krishna and Putana’s fable in Kathakali is extremely mesmerizing.

Kansa, the demonic king wanted to kill Krishna when he got to know that he was his sister, Devaki and Vasudev’s son. Kamsa planned the fate of the innocent baby, Krishna to save his life.

Wishing to kill Krishna, Kamsa employed one of the hideous demons, Putana. Putana was a witch who mastered the black art of killing small children by sinful methods.

Putana disguised herself into a beautiful woman and entered Gokula. She got very friendly with everyone and entered Krishna’s house. Not doubting her intentions, mother Yashoda left her alone with Krishna. Baby Krishna was lying on a small bed.

Putana took Krishna on her lap and offer her breast milk. Putana had smeared a deadly poison on her breasts. She was hoping that as soon as Krishna would suck her breast, He would die. Krishna realized that he was in danger and decided to put an end to the vicious demon. Krishna sucked Putana’s nipples so hard that along with the poison he also tried to suck out the life from the demon’s body.

Putana was in great pain, she was twisting and turning with fear and tremble. She tried to take Krishna away from her breasts but she didn’t succeed.All her efforts to free herself were in vain and she finally crashed down to the ground and died.

This story of Krishan and Putana also popular as Poothana Mokshna in Malayalam is a popular subject in Kathakali, (a classical dance-drama form from Kerala). The Poothana Mokshna depicts the story of Putana. In this version of the story, Putana (or Poothana) falls in love with the baby Krishna when she sees him. She has the great regret of the task that she has been assigned but does it anyway due to the fear of being punished by the demon, Kamsa.

The heavy makeup of the dancer, combined with the dancer’s exaggerated facial expressions, and the use of percussion as a dramatic force, the stylized movements and gestures show a divine dance performance.




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