‘‘It was god’s gift.’’ Director of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services Dr K Radha Krishna’s explanation is simple when you quiz him on his love for Kathakali. ‘‘No one in my family was artistically inclined. But I used to observe the mudras, and could imitate them to perfection. When I was seven, my parents — K P Krishnan Kutty Menon, a deputy collector, and K Ammani Amma, a DEO — decided to formally train me.’’
Thus, in 1960, began his tryst with Kathakali, as a part-time student with Vijaya Bhanu, who later became a professor at Swathi Thirunal Academy, Thiruvananthapuram.
‘‘My strength was rhythm, and in Kathakali, rhythm was essential,’’ says Radha Krishna. But a bright career was cut short when, while a student of class X, he developed arthritis, and was forbidden to dance. ‘‘I felt like my legs had been amputated. As I struggled to cope with the agony, I turned to music. I began to sing, something I had never tried earlier.’’
But the urge to dance was too strong to be diverted by other arts. After a 14-year break, Radha Krishna returned to dance under old guru Vijaya Bhanu and T V A Warrier. Come 1981, and he began playing major roles like Parasuram and Hanuman in full-length performances. Simultaneously, he sang at the Guruvayoor and Ayyappa temples. At present, he is receiving training in Carnatic vocal music. ‘‘I am very serious about my classes. Therefore, I practise at least half-an-hour every day,’’ says Radha Krishna. ‘‘Music serves me as a fantastic tonic and I feel immensely relaxed after a session.’’
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