Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody has been underneath digital lockdown since 2005 as a result of poor well being
Amid recollecting his wonderful previous, Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody typically breaks into guffaws that belie his interior gloom. At 76, the actor-dancer has been largely off the Kathakali circuit for one-and-a-half many years as a result of an surprising slide in well being. It started in 2005 when Pisharody was on the peak of his profession. Knee ache started to problem him on stage. Each legs grew to become more and more unwieldy, though the grasp selected to not miss any assignments that summer season. In spite of everything, the upcoming monsoon was the standard rejuvenation season.
Remedies taken since haven’t confirmed too profitable. But his ardour for Kathakali prompts Pisharody to make occasional appearances on stage.When invites come for roles that demand much less exertion, the exponent travels from his dwelling within the heritage-rich Kongad in Palakkad district. So Pisharody has principally been in hibernation, a far cry from his heyday. An all-rounder, he used to current an entire vary of protagonists: hero, anti-hero, jester. From utterly stylised to part-natural. Largely male; hardly ever feminine too.
He used his physique to floor his dance within the classicism of Kathakali, however by no means at the price of facial features. This at all times lent finesse to his technique appearing, which is the essence of the shape’s mainstream Kalluvazhi college with moorings in south Malabar.
“I owe my type to Vazhenkada Kunchu Nair,” says Pisharody, explaining his guru’s life-long curiosity in nuanced character portrayals. “As soon as the pupil obtained the fundamentals proper, he would take us into the psychological labyrinths of the dramatis personae. That approach, the coaching is akin to Koodiyattam.”
Kunchu Nair (1909-1981) was fascinated by the intellectuality of this historic Sanskrit theatre type, a sense shared by his prime disciple Pisharody. The duo’s essay of Nalacharitam, which exhibits how the king weathers repeated tides to regain the peace of his youthful instances. Simply the most well-liked Kathakali play, the 18th-century poem requires 4 nights for an unabridged present and offers large scope for not simply extempore appearing, however background vocals, percussion, costume and make up.
Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody
Taking part in Nala carries the chance of the actor choosing an explosive, turbulent portrayal, a lot to the hurt of Kathakali’s sobriety. “Pisharody seldom falls prey to this,” factors out aficionado Ok.B. Raj Anand. “He might unearth the intricacies of the story and its manifold layers, whereas by no means slipping into melodrama.”
He even introduced out Ranga Naishadham, a efficiency handbook on Nalacharitam.
Pisharody’s restrained histrionics vis-à-vis these of stalwart Kalamandalam Gopi made for an expert rivalry that graced Kathakali with its complementariness for almost 4 many years . “I need to say he’s extra contemplative than most of us, distancing from fast applause,” says Gopi, 83. “What’s extra, he is a perfect trainer too. It’s a uncommon combine.”
Ok.Ok. Prasanth, a pupil at Kalamandalam the place Pisharody taught for twenty years from 1979, agrees. “In case you are earnest, the grasp was doubly eager,” he says. “The pedagogy is completely different. On a Monday if he selected a Kathakali story, you’d be educated in its sequences the entire week. This assured continuity and, therefore, indelible classes in choreography.”
Pisharody, who additionally educated underneath titans Ramankutty Nair and Padmanabhan Nair at Kalamandalam, retired from his alma mater as vice-principal in 1999. His Kongad dwelling has remained open for superior college students, one among whom is Haripriya Nambudiri. “Staying at his home over weekends since 2004, the grasp confirmed me the vitality of eyes in expressions,” says Haripriya. “Two years later, I might carry out a personality as dense as Urvashi. He boosted my efforts to problem the final notion that girls are misfits in Kathakali.”
Linguist-teacher Pazhoor Damodaran factors to Pisharody’s penchant for improvising on slokas. “The depiction might not be spectacular, however the core concept will depart us ruminating,” he says.
Pisharody smiles when requested about such remarks or the awards he has acquired. However ask him about these busy days when he began classes underneath his first guru Balakrishnan Nair and the dancer turns eloquent. Sitting in his armchair, he talks about an eventful profession spanning six many years, punctated by loud and resonant laughter.
The author is a eager follower of Kerala’s conventional performing arts.