The story of Kerala Kalamandalam, amongst India’s most essential centres for the performing arts, is interlinked with that of Kathakali, the dance type that when prospered underneath royal patronage. As this munificence started to dry up originally of the twentieth century, it virtually orphaned the dance-theatre and varied different classical arts of Kerala. It was in opposition to this backdrop that nationwide poet Vallathol Narayana Menon held a dialogue with the native ruler, Manakkulam Valiya Kunjunni Raja, who had a totally geared up Kathakali yogam (troupe) in his palace. Raja’s nephew, Manakkulam Mukunda Raja, additionally joined them. After contemplating varied choices, the trio established Kerala Kalamandalam, registering it as a charitable society in 1927 at Kozhikode.
Koothambalam on the Kerala Kalamandalam.
It was not solely a realisation of their dream however an epochal second within the historical past of Kathakali when, on November 9, 1930, Kunjunni Raja lit the normal lamp in his palace to mark the start of Kerala Kalamandalam. By the way, that day was additionally Vallathol’s 52nd birthday. The establishment, now a deemed college, accomplished 90 years on November 9. The standard ‘navathy’ celebrations have needed to be postponed because of the pandemic.
The benevolent Kunjunni Raja gifted your complete workers, college students and paraphernalia of Kathakali coaching he held to Kalamandalam. As the scholars elevated, the establishment was shifted to Srinivasam Bungalow owned by Mukunda Raja at Mulankunnathukavu close to Thrissur. In depth excursions have been undertaken by Vallathol and Mukunda Raja to popularise Kathakali past the boundaries of language, faith and geographical boundaries.
In 1938, the Maharaja of Cochin granted a hectare on the picturesque banks of River Nila, the place Kalamandalam was lastly shifted. The Nila Campus is presently the campus for the college’s postgraduate programs.
The enlargement not solely meant higher infrastructure, it additionally meant the power to supply coaching in different performing arts. Mohiniyattom, which was on the verge of extinction, was launched as a separate division in 1932.
The statue of Vallathol Narayana Menon on the entrance to the Kerala Kalamandalam (seen within the background) .
In 1941, the federal government of Cochin issued a proclamation to take over the establishment, and Vallathol grew to become the chairman of the managing committee. Indignant with this transfer, Mukunda Raja resigned as secretary. In 1955, for its silver jubilee celebrations, Jawaharlal Nehru visited Kalamandalam and donated ₹1 lakh.
The start of the State of Kerala in 1956 augured nicely. The primary authorities headed by E.M.S Namboothiripad, an admirer of the humanities, elevated Kalamandalam to a grant-in-aid establishment and the administration was handed over to an govt board. The system continued till 2007, when Kalamandalam grew to become a Deemed College.
Vallathol had handed away in 1958, however by then the establishment had already produced legends in Kathakali like Krishnan Nair, Ramankutty Nair, Padmanabhan Nair, Vazhankada Kunju Nair and Gopi; Neelakantan Nambissan in vocal music; Krishnankutty Poduval and Appukutty Poduval in percussion, and Kalyanikutty Amma and Sathyabhama in Mohiniyattam.
The introduction of Koodiyattam in 1966 was a serious choice for the establishment. For the primary time within the historical past of the traditional Sanskrit theatre, non-Chakyars and non-Nambiars have been in a position to be taught the artwork, breaking age-old custom.
Through the years, Kalamandalam has upheld the spirit of a secular method to the humanities, producing artistes equivalent to Kalamandalam Hydrali, the well-known Kathakali musician, and Kalamandalam John, Kathakali dancer, whose establishment Kalatharangini has branches throughout Europe.
A Kathakali play being staged in Koothambalam at Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed Cultural College at Cheruthuruthy close to Thrissur
In 1973, the establishment moved to a sprawling campus in Vallathol Nagar, to which it added a marvellous Koothambalam or theatre in 1977.
After 2007, dovetailing the diploma programs with college training was not a simple job for the primary vice-chancellor Dr. Okay.G. Paulose and registrar Dr. N.R. Gramaprakash. After their exit in 2011, the establishment needed to wait until 2018 earlier than the skilled academician, Dr. T.Okay. Narayanan, arrived. “I needed to begin from scratch. Educational our bodies needed to be constituted and deans appointed. Efforts at the moment are on for accreditation by the Nationwide Evaluation and Accreditation Council. The ‘deemed’ standing needs to be shed, because it makes us ineligible for UGC grants,” he says. .
Kalamandalam provides 12 undergraduate and post-graduate programs other than M.Phil and PhD within the classical performing arts of Kerala together with percussion ensembles and ‘chutti’ (make-up and costumes). A serious contribution of Kalamandalam has been in redesigning the costumes of Kathakali, Koodiyattam and Mohiniyattam.
The place it lags behind is in an insufficient curriculum. Famend artiste and former principal, Kalamandalam Gopi, who has identified that the curriculum must be redrafted by an skilled committee, was nominated to the manager board lately.
The author and tradition critic is a skilled musician.