Kathakali veteran exponent Guru Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair died at his residence in nearby Cheliya in Koyilandi early Monday, family sources said.
He had been honored with the Padma Shree in 2017 in recognition of his glorious contribution to the art form.
His portrayal of Lord Krishna and Kuchela on stage always left the audience spellbound and his last notable public performance was at the age of 100.
Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter to express his condolences. Saddened by the disappearance of the Kathakali master, Guru Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair. His passion for the culture and spirituality of India was legendary. He made exceptional efforts to prepare new talents in our classical dances. My thoughts are with his family and fans. Om Shanti, ”he tweeted.
Saddened by the disappearance of the Kathakali teacher, Guru Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair. His passion for the culture and spirituality of India was legendary. He made exceptional efforts to prepare new talents in our classical dances. My thoughts are with his family and fans. Om Shanti.
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 15, 2021
Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair’s date with Kathakali, the ancient Kerala dance drama, began at the age of 14, when she left home to join a kathakali troupe led by Guru Karunakaran Menon.
Age was never a barrier for the veteran artist who had a relentless journey for nearly nine decades with his specialization in the “Kalladikodan” style in Kathakali.
After years of practice and hard work, he founded Bharatiya Natyakalalayam in 1945, which was the first dance school in North Kerala and later established several other dance schools, including the Cheliya Kathakali Vidyalayam in his hometown, about 30 km away. from here.
The institution teaches courses on different aspects of Kathakali and has a full-blown Kathakali company.
Various awards and accolades came his way over the years, including Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi and Kerala Kalamandalam.
Son of Chadayankandy Chathukutty Nair and Kinattinkara Kunhamnakutty Amma on June 16, 1916, Kunhiraman Nair had his first performance at the Keezhpayur Kuniyil Paradevatha temple in 1930.
Since then, there was no going back for the Kunhiraman Nair, who performed even after completing 100 years.