Wednesday, May 30, 2012


The scenario regarding the progressive growth of art forms of Kerala attained a drastic  change
when Vallathol Narayana Menon established 'Kerala Kala Mandalam' at Cheruthuruthy in
Trissur,Kerala in 1930.Afterwards there is tremendous achievements occurred in the fields like
Kathakali,Koodiyattam,Mohiniyattam,Bharatanatyam etc.
When we examine the history of Kathakali  we can understand that 'King Kozhikodu Manavedan Thampuran' initiated Krishnanattam  during  the period 1655-58.For this he wrote 'Krishna
Geethi' in eight volumes which contain the story of Sree Krishna.The make-up and costumes
head-gear etc including the poetry was very much liked and impressed by the people.
Once the King of Kottarakkara requested King Manaveda to send the Krishnanattam troupe
to his place to display before the southern audience.Manavedan Thampuran but denied the
request  teasing that they could not understand that art form.
Kottarakkara Thampuran  designed a similar art form in the name 'Ramanattam' and wrote
poetry works for them.The poetry for Krishnattam is in Sanskrit but for Ramanattam he wrote it in Malayalam.This art form earned more fame than Krishnattam and by accepting and adding  more
attractive items regarding costumes,make-up etc during the course of time it came to be known as 'Kathakali'.
For getting trained in this art form there were honest trainers known as 'Asan' and 'Guru'
who provided training for a limited number of students by allowing them to stay with them
(Gurukula  Method).Since the training for Kathakali needed several years, for that much period the students stayed in the house of their 'Guru'.
There were local small training centers in several parts of Kerala known as 'Kalari' for the
training of Kathakali,'Kalari Payattu' (fight using sword etc), and 'Vela Kali' (an art form which need much physical training).There was narrow style difference that   happened among these
Kalaris which the students rectified or adjusted when got chances to study there also.
The main  Kalaris  were at 'Thakazhy,Mathoor,Kidangoor,Kadathanadan,Kalladikodan,Kaplingadan,Kavungal and Kalluvazhy'.
The Kalari at Kuttanadu in 'Nedumudi' was a prestigious one  known as 'Mathoor Kalari' where Kathakali
was taught fantastically well  by 'Gurus' such as 'Mathur Kunju Pillai Panicker'.
Mathoor Kalari had contributed much to the progress of Kathakali.The Travancore King
Dharma Raja (1758-98) was very much impressed about Mathoor Kalari.It was flourishing well during those days also.Artistes for 'Trivandrum Valia Kottaram Kathakali Yogam'  was provided by Mathoor Kalari.
Mathoor Govindan Kutty was born on 5 Oct 1940 to parents Damodaran Nampoothiri and Karthyayani kutty Amma.He started to learn Kathakali from the age of 14.
Nedumudi Kuttappa Panicker,Kurichy Kunjan Panicker etc were the 'Gurus'.He was
being trained at the Mathoor Kalari.(Mathoor Kalari is not functioning at present).He 
was later trained by Ambalapuzha Sekhar and also got six months training from the
eminent artiste Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair there by he got techniques of 'Kalluvazhy chitta'.His 'Arangettam' was at the age of 18 at Mathoor Kalari.
The acquaintance with Kathakali Artiste Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair helped him for
a self reform and  for  determination to select female characters in Kathakali. Mathoor
Govindan Kutty was impressed by the female characters of Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair
and that influence has helped a lot to refine his gestures and face expressions and also
the dance movements.Mathoor Govindan Kutty could earn a good name and critical acclaim
for his roles like Draupadi,Devayani,Chandramati,Damayanthi etc.He has enacted his female
characters with almost all eminent Kathakali artistes and received admiration.
He is recipient of 'Kali Arangu Award,Guru Chengannur Memorial Award,Kollam Kathakali Club Award,Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award,Fellowship of Arts and Culture
Government of India, etc

He married  'Rajeswari' , the daughter of Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair.His elder son Unnikrishnan is a 'Chenda' exponent and younger son 'Murali Krishnan' is Kathakali artiste.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair earned the love of a large mass of people by his expertise and
charming portrayal of feminine characters in Kathakali for several decades.His gestures,

expressions and graceful movements resembled real woman and so it was always enjoyable.
                              He was born at 'Ilayidathu family' in Kudamaloor of Kottayam District in

 Kerala on 9 Dec 1918.His father was  Vasudevan Nampoothiri of "parathan Illam' and mother
was Narayani Amma.
He started to get trained in Kathakali at the age of 12.Kurichi Rama Panikker,Kudamaloor Kunchu Pillai,Nattakam Velu Pillai,Kurichi Krishna Pillai,Thottam Sankaran Nampoothiri and

Kavalappara Narayanan Nair were his 'Gurus'.
His 'Arangettam' (debut) was held at 'Aarpookkara Temple of Kottayam.
From 1950 on wards  he got fame as a main female character artist of Kathakali dance.

His portrayal as Damayanthi,Sairanthri,Devayani,Mohini,Lalitha,Droupathi etc won the appreciation from critics and audience alike.
Eminent Kathakali masters like Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair etc also liked to enact with him

on stages.
He was serving as trainer at FACT Kathakali School for many years from 1968.Later he 
worked with Kudamaloor Kala Kendra for training Kathakali aspirants.

He was given Central and  State  Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award.
He was able to visit   America,Italy,Germany and other European Counties  also.

Apart from female characters he used to portray characters like Kuchela and Narada also.Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair died on 17 Oct 2000.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


There are a few cine songs in all Indian languages which have turned to be immortal and
listened by people for more than 50 or 60 years but pleasant appealing nature never fade out.
Malayali listeners from 1955 are enjoying the song 'Aathma Vidyalayame Avaniyil aathma
vidyalayame.....'  which is from the film 'Harishchandra'.The younger generations also likes it
and they also adore the singer Kamukara Purushothaman  who sang that song.
A song turns immortal because of several reasons such as good lyrics,the best and  most suited
music composition, rendering by a singer who could sing  with emotions and  with a sweet
appealing voice.When all these factors combine together that song will enter the hearts of the
music lovers.The song mentioned here was written by Thirnainar Kurichi Madhavan Nair and was music composed by Brother Lakshmanan.The film was produced by P.Subramanyam and
was directed by Anthony Mitradas.Thickurissi Sukumaran Nair appeared as Raja Harishchandra in this  song sequence.There were 15 songs in the picture and another song
'Aarundu chollan... is also very popular from this film still today.
Kamukara Purushothaman was born in Thiruvattar of Kanyakumari District  on 4 Dec 1930.
His parents were also well versed in Classical music and so from the childhood itself with his
younger sister Leela (Who is famous Writer,Musician and Dancer Dr.Leela Omcherry now)
were initiated to the world of Classical music.At the age of 13 itself Kamukara Purushothaman
S.P. at Kamukara Residence in 2005
had his debut at Aadi Kesava Temple,Thiruvattar.He started music concerts from the age of
15 itself.From 1950  he was made an artist at Travancore Broadcasting Station and had
transmitted his classical concerts several times.He had sung Light music at All India Radio
Station hundreds of times.
His first cine music was recorded in the year 1953 when he was 23 years old.From there on
he was offered songs in many films and during the 50's and 60's he was on the top as as

a playback singer not only in Malayalam but in other South Indian Languages also.He had
sung songs for more than 125 films and most of them were super hits at that period and many
of them are still very popular and afresh.
The emoted voice quality and magical resounding sound mesmerized the listeners that 
the songs 'Eeswara chintha ithonne manujanu saswathame ulakil..' and  'Nale Nale ennayittum

Scene of Song 'Aatha Vidyalayame'

Scene from 'Kattu Mainah'

Bhagavane Kananithra...'  keep on the magic for ever.
The song 'Ganga Yamuna....' of film 'Hotel High Range,
song 'Sangeethame jeevitham' of film Jail Pully sung with Santha P.Nair
song 'Osana ..Osana....Daveedin Puthrannosana..Parisudhan Parisudhan...'from 'Snapaka Yohannan',
Song 'Thumapoo Peyyana Poonilave '..sung with KPAC Sulochana in 'Randidangazhi'
Song 'Mattoru Seethaye Kattilekkayakkunnu...' from film 'Tharavattamma'
Song 'Ekanthathayude Apaara theeram ...' from film 'Bhargavee Nilayam'
song ' Kanninayum Kaniinayum ' with S.Janaki in 'Lady Doctor'
song 'Pancha Varna Thatha Pole konchi vanna penne' sung with yesudas in film 'Karutha Kai'
Song ' Asoka Vanathile Seethamma.. avalude Sreeraman aaramma' sung with Vasantha in
the film 'Kallichellamma'.
Song 'Aakasa poykayilundoru ponnum thoni....' from film 'Pattu Thoovala'
song 'Marakkan Kazhiyumo Premam'.......from film 'Kannur Deluxe'
Song ' Padachavan Padachappol...' from film' Kayamkulam Kochunni'
Song 'Mindathathenthanu thathe nee ganam maranno nanam vanno'.. from 'Jnana Sundari'
Song 'Panineer Malarinorithal kozhinjalum kanthi kuranjidumo'... from 'Njana Sundari'
are some of the songs still very popular.
Songs from films 'Pen Makkal, Indu Lekha, Mariakutty,Sarpakkadu,Christmas Rathri,
Althara,Balyasakhi,Karuna,Chilamboli etc are also liked by music lovers.
Kamukara Purushothaman with A.P.Udaya Bhanu and other eminent senior  singers formed a
music troupe  by name 'Old is Gold' and performed stage programs all over India and abroad
which attracted a large sector of people.
Kamukara Purushothaman left this world on May 26, 1995 leaving behind that rich emotion
filled wonderful voice and melodious songs for enjoyment for the coming generations also.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Kalamandalam Hyderali was looked upon with admiration and love by cultural Kerala because
of several reasons.He was the first Muslim Kathakali Musician who rose to fame in Kerala.
He walked along the path of Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri  and with his contemporary
Venmony Haridas the trio created a new path in rendering Kathakali songs and earned wide
accolades and appreciation.
Hyderali was born to a Mappilai Pattu exponent.He joined Kerala Kalamandalam at the age

 of  eleven.His family was very poor and was not able to pay the admission fees to the Institute.He was helped by a Hindu and a Christian to pay the fees.This is disclosed in his autobiography.
At Kalamandalam he had Gurus like 'Kalamandalam Neelakantan Nambeesan,Sivaraman Nair,Kalamandalam Gangadharan etc.

Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri was also a student at Kalamandalam at that time.
After passing out he was offered a job at FACT Kathakali School.
At FACT school he had other eminent co-workers like Kalamandalam Kesavan (Chenda

 expert) ,Kalamandalam Sankara Warrier(Maddalam expert),Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri (Kathakali music expert)Vaikom Karunakaran Nair and FACT Bhaskaran(Kathakali dance experts).
Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri along with Hyderali and Venmony Haridas instituted

a new style of rendering Kathakali songs.The aesthetics of Kathakali music was actually
differentiated by any average person from that period on wards.
In Kathakali the actors do not speak  but convey their thoughts by expressions and gestures

while the story details and conversations are detailed in the kathakali songs rendered by
two singers on stage.Even though the lines are repeated by the second singer many of the

 audiences were not able to follow them to understand the meanings or to enjoy them.The trio

Sankaran Embranthiri,Hyderali and Venmony Haridas completely changed the scenario in
this regard.They started to sing Kathakali music in a Carnatic style with distinctive  crystal

clear clarity and giving emotions and expressions in voice with voice modulation also.
The emotive style of singing and the voice quality of the singers were well noted soon that

people began to listen to the music with admiration and enjoyed it.
These singers were invited for music programs  of Kathakali music   by groups of  admiring

persons  just to enjoy the music only (without the Kathakali dance).
They paved a new path in Kathakali music which is followed by many new comers now

which marked the rise of a new system.
Being a Muslim there were incidents Hyderali was not  permitted to enter temple compound

for rendition of songs for Kathakali program. Since as a custom non Muslims are not allowed
in Hindu temples Hyderali did not take such incidents seriously.
By 1990 Hydeali earned reputation as an expert singer who could sing with full emotion

for romantic/dramatic/ and choreographically sensitive situations of Kathakali dance.
He met with a car accident and died at Alapuzha on January 5, 2006.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Parassala Ponnammal is a living legend of Carnatic music who is hailing from Parassala  of
Trivandrum district and was born in the year 1924.She is having seven decades of experience 
as a Carnatic vocalist and 38 years of teaching experience.Several of her students are well
famed professionals at present.
She was initiated to music by Paramu Pillai Bhagavathar and afterwards taught by
 Ramaswamy Bhagavathar who instucted her parents to select music as her main subject  for
higher studies.While she was studying music under Vaidyanatha Aiyer she won a gold medal 
held to mark the birthday celebration of Chithira Thirunal Maharajah.Thus she was allowed

 to join Swathi Thirunal Music Academy of Trivandrum.She became the first woman to pass out Gana Bhooshanam course from the Music Academy.In between her studies there she had
already joined as a teacher at Govt.Cotton Hill High  School Trivandrum.
In 1952 Ponnamma joined Swathi Thirunal Music Academy as a Teacher and she was the first 
woman in that category there.In 1970 she was appointed as Principal of RLV College of Music and Fine Arts,Tripunithura where she served in that post up to 1980 till retirement.
Ponnamma used to sing for All India Radio and Door Darshan and she  is an A grade artist there.
She is 'A' grade artiste of All India Radio for the last fifty years.
Her outstanding classical renditioins includes 'Guruvayoor Puresa Suprabhatham', 'Thrissiva Peroor Suprabhatham', 'Ulsava Prabandham,Navaratri Kriti,Meenambika Sthothram, and

also Composition of Irayimman Thampi and K.C.Kesava Pillai'.Her rendition further includes
Shri Padmanabha Shathakam of Shri Swathi Thirunal.
She is recipient of several awards.She is conferred the title 'Gayaka Ratnam' by Princess
Karthika Thirunal in 1996.
She received Kerala  Government Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award in 1976 and Fellowship in 2002.
She received 'Acharya Kala Bharati Award'from Chennai in 2008.
She was given 'Acharya Ratnakara Award' from Cleveland Thyagaraja Ulsavam in the USA
in the year 2009.
In 2010 she received 'Swathi Puraskaram,Guruvayoorappan Chembai Puraskaram,
Central Government Sangeeta Nataka Academy Award' and many more.
In 2006 Ponnammal became the first woman to perform at the Navarathri Mandapam

during the Navarathri festivals at Thruvananthapuram which is annually held for the 
last 177 years.
Her significant hard work,devotion,and utmost commitment for the uplift of her profession
is looked upon by youngsters with deep admiration.The veteran singer still conducts 
music concerts and maintains the traditional aspects of the art.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Kottakkal Chandrsekhara Warrier  is a senior Kathakali artist known for his portrayal of the virtuous pachcha and
anti-heroic Kathi roles in the classical dance-drama art form of Kathakali.He was born in Palaghat District
Naduvattathu Padickal Variathu  on January 15, 1945.His father was a well known drama artiste Narayanamangalam Aamayur Manackal Kumaraswamy Bhattathirippad.His mother was famous 'Thiruvathirakali' artiste.
He started to learn Kathakali  at the age of twelve.Chetellur Kuttappa Panikker, Padma Shri Vazhenkada Kunchu Nair,
Kottakkal Krishnan Kutty Nair were his Gurus.
Arangettam was held at K.S.Ezhuthachan Memorial Library Hall,Naduvattam.
He was one who got trained from Kottakkal  P.S.V. Natya Sangham, became an instructor there and later

turned to be the Principal of that Institute from 1996 on wards.
He is well appreciated for his portrayal of roles of Nalan,Bahukan,Bhiman,Arjunan,Ravanan,Duryodhanan and Keechakan.
He has won the Central Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award.
Kottakkal Chandrasekhara Warrier as Brihannala (Left)
He  was lucky enough to get a gold  medal from 'Sathya Sai Baba'.He is recipient of several other awards
and certificates also.
He has visited Malasia,Singapore,Indonesia,England,China,Korea,Hong kong,Switzerland  etc. and performed Kathakali there.
His wife's name is Suseela.They have a son and a daughter.
Kottakkal Chandrasekara Warrier as Nalan (Left) with Muralikrishnan


Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma was born on 27 October 1916 at Thirunavaya to Parents Govinda Menon and Sreedevi Amma.She studied up to eighth class in School and then studied Sanskit.She started learning dance from  the age of twenty two.Chomayil Madhaviamma and Appekkattu Krishna Panikker were the 'Gurus'.
Padmashri Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair
She got North Indian Dance training from Kalamandalam Madhavan,Priya Balagopal Singh trained her in
Manipuri Dance,Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and Vazhenkada Kunchu Nair trained her in Kathakali at the
Kerala Kalamandalam Academy.Altogether she studied there for four years.
The 'Arangettam' performance was at the Kalamandalam at the age of 23.
From 1955 on wards she got fame as an expert dancer,Choreographer,Trainer etc.She was capable to write

lyrics of her own and to do music composition for it and to do the suitable choreography  resulting  as a fantastic
dance number.
She was the recipient of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award,Kendra Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award, Honorary Membership of Kalamandalam, other certificates and Medals.
She was teacher at Guru Gopinath's Dance Institution,Mahilalaya at Ahmedabad,'Nrithya Grama'  of  Pratima
Bedi at Bangalore.
Later Kalyani Kutty Amma with her husband Padma Shri Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair started an Institute
at Thripunithura in the Name 'Kerala Kala Nilayam' where training for Kathakali,Mohiniyattam,Bharatanatyam,Kuchupidi,Oddissi,Carnatic Music,Violin,Veena etc are taught.
Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma has done her own contributions for the betterment of Mohiniyattam dance.

She has published two  books  which  earned much appreciation as  reference manuals  of Mohiniyattam , and one book is in the name 'Mohiniyattam-History and Dance Structure'
.Kalyanikutty Amma had a small performance in the 1968 Malayalam cinema "Asuravithu' which was penned by M.T.Vasudevan Nair and directed by A.Vincent.
Her notable disciples include Mrinalini Sarabhai,Deepti Omcheri Bhalla,Thara Raj Kumar,Hisayo Adachi,
Nilufar etc.
She died on May 12, 1999 at Thrippunithura.
She is survived by five sons and two daughters.Her son 'Kalasala Babu is a Film and T.V. Actor.Daughters
Tara Rajkumar
Sreedevi and KalaVijayan  are well known dancers.One of her son Sreekumar is a Kathakali  Dancer.Her granddaughter Smita Rajan  has earned much fame as a Mohiniyattam Dancer.She is living in U.S.A. with her
family and running an Institution there to teach Indian Classical
dances to students in the name 'Nritya Kshetra'(Temple of Dance).
Smita Rajan who had intrinsic talents had her arangettam for
Mohiniyattam and Bharatanatyam at the age of 4 and 6 respectively.
Her mother Sreedevi, aunt Kala Vijayan and Grandmother also
taught her the lessons of Classical dances.Guru Kala Vijayan
and Guru Sreedevi are renowned trainers of Classical dances
and Kathakali  in Kerala at present at their Institute.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Thiruvizha Jayasankar is a highly reputed Nadaswaram Musician of Kerala.The wind instrument 'Nadaswaram'
is an essential part of Hindu  way of life  especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Nadaswaram music is daily needed in all temples of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and for festivals .Nadaswaram is a must for Hindu marriage ceremony.Nadaswaram accompanied with
percussion instrument 'Thavil' which is similar to drum is mostly used for Nadaswaram concerts or it can be
used along with  drums(Chenda) also.The artist using this instrument is playing it using his mouth and by breath control and
with the fingers closing and opening the holes on the sides of the 'Nadaswaram' the necessary notes and rhythm
is made.They are singing classical Carnatic songs  through this instrument and so the player should know the
Carnatic 'Kritis'(songs) and must be well versed in its composition.They should be an expert to operate the
Nadaswaram also.The advantage is that if the player's voice is not fair but he knows all the Carnatic 'Kritis'
well defined  he can get fame as a Nagaswara Player.
Thiruvizha Jayasankar was born at Thiruvizha near Cherthala of Alapuzha District.His father was an eminent
Nadaswara artist and so gave training to Jayasankar from Childhood in this art form.After passing out B.A.
degree course he joined for music courses like Gana Bhushanam and Gana  Praveena and was able to

get those certificates also.For this he studied at Chittoor Government College,Thripunithura R.L.V. Academy and Trivandrum Swathi Thirunal College.
The famous 'Gana Gandharvan' Yesudas is his class mate in Music College.
His 'arangettam' (first public performance) was at the age of 16 and was held at Kayamkulam Pathiyoor Devi
Temple.He worked  at   Trivandrum Radio Station from 1966 on wards.
He established himself as an expert Nadaswara Player and earned fame from 1975 and has conducted
several concerts in Kerala  and Tamil Nadu.He

 has performed  all over India and done concerts in Germany

and France also.
Thiruvizha Jayasankar has served as visiting Professor  of  Annamalai University.
He is recipient of Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Academy Award,
Tamil Nadu Government 'Kalaimamani' Award and so many certificates,medals and awards.

His main disciples are 'Vettikkavala Sasi Kumar and Haripad Murukadas'.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Guru Chengannur Raman Pillai was a celebrated Kathakali artist, Kathakali trainer and writer.He wrote a
very useful book in the name 'Thekkan Chittayilulla Abhyasa Kramangal' which is used as a reference book
by those are interested in this art form,researchers and Kathakali students.For classical dance students also that
book is a valuable one.
Chengannur Raman Pillai was born on 16 Jan 1886 at Vanmazhy in Chengannur.He was a disciple of Thakazhi
Kesava Panikker,Mathur Kunju Pillai Panikker ,Ambalappuzha Kunjikrishna Panikker etc and mastered in all aspects of Kathakali acting.
There were no training Institutions during those period to teach Kathakali or any other art forms but the aspirants had to stay with the instructor (Guru) till they equals their Guru in perfection.Then the disciple may approach another Guru to seek more if that Guru knows more or they are specialist in any variety.Thus by studying under three or four Gurus Chengannur Raman Pillai became an efficient expert in this field.
'Guru' second from left in front row
Even though the disciple is well trained they need to have some brilliancy of their own to earn much fame
because in Kathakali  during intervals of singing the versus by the singers and time given for only percussion instruments 
the actors has to perform their own ideas  using their brain.By watching the 'mudras' and  expressions the audience
will understand what is being done or what is being  conveyed.This is known as 'Ilakiyattam' and some actors earn
very much fame because of their skillful  talents in this regard.Guru Raman Pillai was an expert in this field.
More over Chengannur Raman Pillai was very much energetic to visualize the characters like 'Duryodhana,
Ravana,Bana,Jarasandha,Kamsa etc which are all Villainous Characters (Kathi Vesham) and he used to
dance and act fantastically well to suit those cruel characters.He handled other roles also like Hanuman and Hamsam which
also received appreciation.He gained much applause for his role as 'Kattalan' who is Lord Shiva in disguise that  comes to test and to

Guru Raman Pillai (sitting)

minimize the ego of 'Arjuna'  before blessing him and presenting the 'Pasupathastra'.
Guru Raman Pillai was lovingly called as 'Raman Pillai Aasan'.
His disciples includes Madavur Vasudevan Nair,Haripad Rama Krishna Pillai,Mankombu Sivasankara Pillai and
Chennithala Chellappan Pillai.They all stayed in his house for several years to get trained in Kathakali dance.
Guru Chengannur Raman Pillai was the Palace dancer to the Travancore Maharaja.
On his 84th birthday  it was celebrated as a grand function at 'Navarathri Mandapam of Chengannur Mahadeva Temple' as  'Guru Chengannur Janma Sathabdi Celebration' in which many dignitaries attended  and a magazine containing all
achievements in his life was published and distributed to the audience.That event was in 1970.
Guru Chengannur Raman Pillai died on 11 November 1980.


The famous Carnatic Vocalist and eminent  music teacher Mavelikkara R. Prabhakara Varma was born  on
29 Oct 1928 to Chandra Prabha Amma Thampuratty of Mavelikkara Vadakke Kottaram and Rama Varma
Thampuran of Kilimanoor Palace.His mother Chandraprabha Thampuratty was the daughter of  the eminent
 'Kerala Panini A.R.Raja Raja Varma.'Since his parents were interested in  Cultural activities  of many types
his interest in Carnatic Music from childhood was
 inherent.He studied at Swathi Thirunal Music College of Thiruvananthapuram and passed out with 'Gana Bhooshanam' degree.From Kerala University he obtained  B.A. degree in Sanskrit and M.A. Degree in Music.
                         Before joining the Swathi Thirunal Music College,  he was being given
training in Carnatic  music at home from the age of ten.Mavelikkara Veeramani Bhagavathar,Mavelikkara
Ramanathan etc were his teachers during those days.

Later he was trained by famous vocalists Semmankudi Sreenivasayyar,C.S.Krishnayyar,K.R.Kumara Swamy,
Madurai Kesava Bhagavathar,N.G.Seetha Ramayyar and K.S.Narayana Swamy etc.
He was having problem with his right leg from birth to death because of 'Polio' but it did not affect his
profession and enthusiasm.
At the age of 15 he had his Carnatic musical Arangettam (first public performance) held at Chengannur
Mahadeva Temple.From 1957 he gained fame as a good Carnatic musician.
He worked as Assistant Professor and Professor at Swati Thirunal Music College,Trivandrum.Later he became
the Principal of R.L.V. Music and arts Academy,Thripunithura which is near Ernakulam and worked till
retirement there.
After retirement he worked as Principal of Chithira Thirunal Music College of Trivandrum which is being run
by 'Swathi Thirunal Sangeetha Sabha'.
He had his performances abroad also in  America, Canada etc.
He was recipient of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award,
Thulasivana Award, and many other awards including Award from a society in America.
His famous disciples include 'Neyyattinkara Vasudevan,M.G.Radhakrishnan,Dr.K.Omamakutty,Ponkunnam
Ramachandran,Govindan Nampoothiri,Sankaran Nampoothiri,B.Arundhathi etc.
Mavelikkara Prabhakara Varma remained as a life long bachelor.
He died on 2 Nov 2008 at his sister's residence at Thripunitura at the age of 80.