The characters in Kattaikkuttu’s Mahabharata and puranic repertoire wear a mask-like make-up that can be very complex. Knowledgeable spectators identify a dramatic person on the basis of his or her make-up. The color of the make-up tell us something about the temperament of a (Mahabharata) character: Duhsasana’s red indicates his anger and often aggression, Arjuna’s green-yellow shade stands for Arjuna’s heroism and pink is for the more composed or even placid characters such as Yudhisthira.
The make-up consists of a basic color the shade of which varies depending on the moment in the narrative, and intricate decorations made on top of this basic color. We use coconut oil, water and talcum powder to fix the make-up, which needs to stay on for 8 hours even when the performers are sweating. Most of the colors nowadays or chemical; a few are made from natural ingredients.