Kottakkal Sivaraman

Kottakkal Sivaraman

Kottakkal Sivaraman

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Kottakkal Sivaraman (1936 – 19 July 2010) was an acclaimed performing artiste who revolutionised the portrayal of female roles in Kathakali, the classical dance-drama from Kerala in southern India. He did have a forerunner in that mission in the form of the late Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair, but Sivaraman indisputably took stree vesham (female roles) to hitherto-unimaginable prominence.


Kathakali, being a largely masculine dance form with an all-male presence (at least till the end of the first half of the 20th century), tended to give female roles a secondary status. This is despite some of its classical stories having dense and slow-paced songs (padams) set for female characters like Lalitha (in Kirmeeravadham, Bakavadham) or Urvashi (in Kalakeyavadham) besides characters like Damayanti (Nalacharitam) or Mohini (Rugmangadacharitam) or Sairandhri (or Malini in Keechakavadham) which demanded fertile imagination and an insight about their profile for brighter enactment.

The 1936-born Sivaraman, a disciple of his uncle-guru Padma Shri Vazhenkada Kunchu Nair at the PSV Natyasangham in Kottakkal in north-central Kerala's Malappuram district, decided to change all this subordination. By the 1960s, he had experimented those ideas on stage with success, much to the appreciation of aesthetes not only in his native......
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