Kathakali maestro Guru Chemancheri passes away at 105


Kozhikode: Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair, a veteran in the art form of Kathakali, passed away here on Monday morning. He was 105. The end came at his residence at Cheliya in Koyilandy.

The noted Kathakali actor was born in 1916 and began training in Kathakali when he was only 15. Under various gurus, he learned classical art form. He studied Bharatanatyam and was also a stage performer.

The maestro’s mudras, charm and grace have won hearts of Kathakali lovers for several decades.

Winning the Padma Shri award in 2017, Chemencheri was also the recipient of several other honours namely the Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Award in 1979, Kerala Kalamandalam award in 2001, Kalaratnam award in 2009, Mayilpeeli award and Sangeet Natak Academi Tagore award for his contributions to Kathakali.

Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair
President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Padma Shri to Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi in 2017

He has supported other dance-drama forms and is full of energy even at this age.

He founded the Bharatiya Natyyakalayalam in 1945, the first school of dance in North Kerala. Several other dance schools was also started by him and in 1983 established Cheliya Kathakali Vidyalayam, a village from Kozhikode.

Guru Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair had recently received the covid-19 vaccine at a private hospital in Kozhikode.

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