Konangi, Katikam & Kattiyakaran
Shahaji made the katikam, who followed Vinayaka, a virtual clown. This transformation is retained in the Tamil folk theatre, even now. As summed up by V.R. Devika in an article published about a year ago, the kattiyakaran provides the link between the period of the play and the present time, between the actors and the spectators and between the characters of the play themselves. In the course of his narration, he brings in humour, comments on current issues and even wakes up some in the audience who might have fallen asleep. [The Hindu, 2 March, 1997). The format of Melattur plays conforms to the pattern of Tanjavur court plays set by Vijayaraghava Nayaka and Shahaji, but their authors added their own innovations.