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Kathakali exponent Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboothiri passes away

Known for the portrayal of the negative 'chuvanna thadi' (red beard) characters in the classical dance drama, he also excelled in enacting the roles of "vattamudi" and "penkari"

By: PTI | Thiruvananthapuram |
August 3, 2021 12:00:38 pm
Nelliyode Vasudevan NamboothiriNelliyode Vasudevan Namboothiri was 81. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Well-known Kathakali exponent Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboothiri died at his residence last night, family sources said.

He was 81 and was battling cancer for some time, they said.

Known for the portrayal of the negative ‘chuvanna thadi’ (red beard) characters in the classical dance drama, he also excelled in enacting the roles of “vattamudi” and “penkari.”

Besides the characters of negative shades like ‘Kali’, ‘Dushasanan’ and ‘Bakan’, he was famous for the pious roles like ‘Kuchelan’ too.

A scholar in Sanskrit and Hindu Puranas, Namboothiri was a recipient of several honours including Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi award, Kerala Santeetha Nataka Akademi award, Kerala State Kathakali Prize and so on.

He is survived by wife Sreedevi Antharjanam, a son and daughter.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan were among those who condoled Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboothiri’s death.

“Sad to hear about the passing of Kathakali maestro shri Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboothiri,a noted exponent of the pure Kathakali tradition. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. May his soul attain Mukti,” Khan tweeted.

A unique Kathakali exponent, Namboothiri’s contributions to the classical dance drama were ‘invaluable’, Vijayan said in his message.

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