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Among the classical performing arts of Kerala, Thullal is distinct with its simplicity of presentation and its frank, outspoken wit and humour. 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.

Thullal is said to have been organized by Kunjan Nambiar, a veritable genius and one of the foremost poets of Kerala. There are three different types of Thullal, classified according to the metre and rhythm of the songs sung in each one and the differences in constume and dance. They are Ottan Thullal, Seethankan Thullal and Parayan Thullal.

Thullal is conceived as a solo dance. The dancers is supported by two musicians, who stand a little behind him. One of them plays the maddalam, a drum, and the other, small cymbals