On 18th December 2016, a small performance was arranged in a beautiful Kuruvattoor Ayappa village temple where the legend Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair Ashan was born.
As you walked up this small temple, the atmosphere was so peaceful and created the perfect place to honor this outstanding guru. By the side of his photograph was a picture of his beloved wife Kalamandalam Sathyabhama. Together they gave so much to so many throughout their lifetime dedicated to their students.
Kalamandalam Vijayakumar, student of Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair Ashan and co founder of the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company was invited by Ashan`s son Sasi, to perform the female character along side Kalanilayam Mohan. Kalamandalam Balan- excellent chutti [make-up artist] also born in this village was invited to do chutti. The whole evening was made special by the singers - Kalamandalam Mohankrishnan, Achu Atten, Chenda Sri Hari, Madalam Kalamandalam Ramankutti, costumers - Kalamandalam Appunni Tharakan and Mohan.
The sun set, the temple lit up, speeches made and the performance began. The audience were captivated as the story of Damayanthi and Katalan in Nala Cheritham 2nd Day unfolded. The night ended with a wonderful feeling of celebration of a legend who gave his life to teaching his students.
Because of Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair Ashan, Kathakali acquired high classical standards, perfect stage presentation and the development of the characters. All this was taught with great kindness and patience as his students evolved. His legacy will live on in the performances of the unique, and world renowned, Padmasree Kalamandalam Gopi ashan who has taken his ashan`s teaching to the level of a genius.
It was a night to remember that everything we know comes from our ashans and because of them we have a life.
Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar
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