A short biography of Ammannur

3 07 2008

Guru Ammannur Madhva Chakyar (1917-2008 ) can easily be described as ‘The Greatest Kutiyattam performer’ of  the last century.

 

Biography as documented by G.Venu in his Memoirs – Into The World of Kutiyattam With The Legendary Ammannur Madhava Chakyar, published by Natanakairali – Research and Performing Centre for Traditional Arts

 

Family

Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar was born into the Ammannnur Chakyar family to Sreedevi Illodamma and Vellarapilli Madassi Manakkal Parameswaran Nambutiri on 13th May 1917. He passed away on 1st July, 2008. His wife Parukkutty Nangiaramma survives him.

 

Training, Gurus and first performances

Ammannur Madhava Chakyar was initiated into Kutiyattam at the age of 7 and trained rigorously under his two uncles Ammannur Chachu Chakyar, Ammannur Valiya  Madhava Chakyar and also Kitangur Rama Chakyar.

 

His arangettam(debut performance) was at the age of 11 at the Bhagavathi temple at Thirumandham Kunnu performing the role of Sutradhara in Balacharitam.

At the age of 14, he gave his first performance at the Vadakkumnathan Temple in Trichur performing as Sree Rama in Balivadham.

 

At the age of 16, He had his debut in Prabandha Koothu with the ritual Kuduma vakkal at the Putiya Trikkovil, Chendamangalam.

 

After completing his basic training in the traditional style under his masters, Ammannur Madhava Chakyar went for higher training in Abhinaya and Natyashastra under Bhagavathar Kunjunni Thampuran at the acting laboratory at the Kodungallor Royal family.

 

He also studied Sanskrit language under Vidushi Kochikavu Tampuratty and Vivan Manthitta Nambuthiri.

 

Repertoire highlights

Bali – Balivadham

Ravana – Thoranayudham, Asokavanikankam, Hanumaddutam, Jatayuvadham

Suta, Jatayu – Jatayuvadham

Surpanakha – SurpanakhangamHanuman – Thoranayudham, Ankuliyankam

Dhananjayan – Subhadra Dhananjayam

Bhima, Vidyadhara – Kalyanasaugandhikam

Kapali – Mattavilasam

Vidushaka – Subhadra Dhananjayam, Tapatisamvaranam

Naganandam and all important Prabandha-s in Koothu

 

Attaprakaram-s – acting manuals written for performance(unpublished)

  1. Ascharyachudamani –Parnshalankam, Mayasitankam, Ezhamankam
  2. Abhisheka Natakam – Hanumaddutam, Samudrataranam
  3. Kalyanasaugandhikam
  4. Subhandra Dhananjayam – Act 2
  5. Nangiar Koothu – Sree Krishna Charitam(revised version)

Positions held

 

  1. Kulapati – lifelong at Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam which he co-founded with G.Venu.
  2. Chief Resource person – life long at Natanakairali – Research and Performing Centre for Traditional Arts, Irinjalakuda
  3. Visiting Guru at Margi Kutiyattam Vidyalayam, Tiruvananthapuram – 1981-88
  4. Visiting Professor, Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthy – 1981-82

Performance tours abroad

France(1982,86,2001 )

England(1982,87 )

The Netherlands(1987 )

Switzerland(1987 )

Japan(1988 )

 

Disciples

  1. Moozhikulam Kochukuttan Chakyar
  2. Ammannur Kuttam Chakyar
  3. G.Venu
  4. Usha Nangiar
  5. Margi Madhu
  6. Ammannur Rajaneesh Chakyar
  7. Sooraj Nambiar
  8. Pothiyil Renjith Chakyar
  9. Kapila
  10. Aparna Nangiar
  11. Saritha.T.R
  12. Margi Raman
  13. Margi Sajeev Narayanan
  14. Potiyil Narayanan
  15. Nirmala paniker
  16. Tomoe Tara Irino
  17. Rathy Nangiar

 Honours/Awards

  1. Padmabhushan from Government of India – 2002
  2. P.S.John Endowment Award from Ernakulam Press Club – 2002
  3. Degree of Doctor of Letters from Kannur University – 2002
  4. Citation of UNESCO recognising Kutiyattam – 2001
  5. ‘Pattum Valayum’  from Keli and Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai – 1998
  6. Peelithirumudi Award from Guruvayur temple – 1997
  7. Fellowship from Sangeet Natak Akademi – 1996
  8. ‘Veera Sringhala’ from The International Centre for Kutiyattam, Thripunithura – 1994
  9. Sree Guruvayoorappan Samman from Guruvayur Temple – 1992
  10. ‘Kalidas Samman from Govt. of Madhya Pradesh – 1992
  11. Fellowship from Kerala Kalamandalam – 1988
  12. ‘Natya Kala Nidhi’ title from Cochin Devaswam Board – 1987
  13. Padmashree from Govt. of India – 1982
  14. Sangeet Natak Akademi Award – 1979

Film on Ammannur: PAKARNNATTAM – AMMANNUR   THE   ACTOR
1995, 75 Mins
 Documentary on Ammanur Madhava Chakyar, the legendary Koodiyattam actor
Directed by
M R Rajan, C S Venkiteswaran

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