Ottam Thullal is a popular form of entertainment where one actor through dance and songs narrates a story in simple verses, which could easily be understood by the general public. This performing art form is supposed to have been introduced by Kalakkathu Kunchan Nambiar.
Humour and sarcasm about the traits of human character and society, expressed in the verses and actions of the artiste add spice to the performance and contribute to the popularity of this art form. Variations of Ottanthullal, though not much popular, exist and are called Parayan and Seethankan thullal. The fact that at a time when all serious literary works and art forms followed Sanskrit language, Thullal, to suit the taste of the common people, followed Malayalam, helped it gain wide acceptance and popularity.
All traditional major Thullal stories are from epics, especially Mahabharata. However, mundane themes from day to day life are also selected and presented nowadays, occasionally. In Thullal, the costumes of the actor is comparatively simple in comparison to Kathakali, as can be seen from the illustration. There will be a supporting singer who repeats the verses sung by the performer, giving him opportunity for dance and limited acting.