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.

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