Among the classical performing arts of Kerala, Thullal is distinct with its simplicity of presentation and its frank, outspoken wit and humor. The songs are in simple Malayalam and the techniques employed in this art are not rigid, though they are based on the classical principles of Naatya Saastra, a treatise on art originating in the 2nd century B.C. it is said to have been a modification of Koothu.
Performance—Thullal is conceived as a solo dance. The dancers are supported by two musicians, who stand a little behind him. One of them plays the maddalam, a drum, and the other, small cymbals. Both musicians are also expected to sing along with the dancer. No stage or any other form of formal arrangement is required for the performance.