Tribute to P.Okay. Narayanan Nambiar — a multi-faceted mizhavu exponent

P.Okay. Narayanan Nambiar.
| Picture Credit score: The Hindu Archives

One of many explanation why the The United Nations Academic, Scientific and Cultural Group (UNESCO) recognised Koodiyattam, the only surviving conventional Sanskrit theatre, as an oral and intangible heritage of humanity method again in 2001 is its indeniable antiquity.

Ever since its first onstage efficiency believed to be held between the tenth and eleventh Centuries AD, Koodiyattam remained the prerogative of the Chakyars and the Nambiars. In 1965, it was added to the curriculum of Kerala Kalamandalam.

Whereas the progressive-minded or, extra exactly, the radically-inclined Painkulam Rama Chakyar headed the school of appearing there, P.Okay. Narayanan Nambiar was appointed the teacher for Mizhavu, the principal percussion-instrument of Koodiyattam. The veteran, who handed away not too long ago, was undoubtedly the fashionable architect of Mizhavu-music, apart from being a scholar and author.

Because the son of the legendary Koodiyattam actor Mani Madhava Chakyar, Narayanan Nambiar had inherited many a particular high quality related to the artform and its iconic practitioners. He grew up in an surroundings watching the recitals of well-known Chakyars and Nangiars. But he needed to wait till the mid- twentieth Century to discover a democratic platform to hone his abilities, and to disseminate his information on Mizhavu.

Inside the Koodiyattam-Kalari of Kerala Kalamandalam, Narayanan Nambiar systematised and restructured the shape and content material of Mizhavu-music. He single-handedly codified and categorised its practical significance in accordance with the angika (motion dynamics), vachika (verbal appearing) and satwika (emotive appearing) of the actors educated by Rama Chakyar.

The coaching methodology launched by him solidified the pedagogy of Mizhavu-music within the years to return.

In his personal Kalari, Narayanan Nambiar imparted classes on the Mizhavu to a handful of highly-skilled kids, who later joined their guru within the Cholliyattakkalari (efficiency with out make-up and costumes) to mood their abilities in tune with the texts, contexts and the characters. In the middle of time, most of his disciples grew to become masters within the subject. All of the famous Mizhavu gamers of the day maintain aloft the idiom carved out by him.

 A Patakam performance by Mizhavu exponent PK Narayanan Nambiar.

A Patakam efficiency by Mizhavu exponent PK Narayanan Nambiar.
| Picture Credit score:
The Hindu Archives

Historically, there are solely two tala-patterns in Koodiyattam and Nangiarkoothu — Ekam (1 beat) and Thriputa (7 beats). Narayanan Nambiar had an irresistible urge to transcend, and composed a brand new style — Mizhavil Thayambaka (a solo recital on the Mizhavu). The instrument is able to producing solely two sounds — tha and thom. Its leather-surface doesn’t provide house for creating different sounds. Modulation, too, is troublesome. But, Narayanan Nambiar and his instant disciples, Kalamandalam Eswaran Unni and Hariharan, performed a Thayambaka on it, crossing over to completely different tala-patterns — panchari (six beats), chamba (10 beats) and adantha (14 beats). Their deft enjoying proclaimed the potentials of this instrument even outdoors the boundaries of Koothu, Koodiyattam and Nangiarkoothu.

Effectively-conversant with the performs of Kalidasa, Shaktibhadra, Bhasa, Sreeharsha, Neelakanta, Kulasekhara, Bodhyana and the like, Narayanan Nambiar knew all of the nuances related to the appearing methods. Little marvel, his Mizhavu enjoying displayed a profound visible sensibility, a lot in order that younger actors trusted him to hone their expertise.

Positioned behind the nayakas, nayikas and the prathinayakas in Koodiyattam, Narayanan Nambiar by no means tried both to outsmart excellent actors or ignore the lesser ones. Whereas enjoying the instrument for every of them, he spontaneously learn their performances with a important eye and was prepared to supply steering off stage. Ouchithya (propriety) was the hallmark of his artistry on stage.

Sreekrishnacharitam Nangiarammakuttu is without doubt one of the monumental works of Narayanan Nambiar that’s hailed each by practitioners of the artwork type and students. Even after his retirement from Kalamandalam as professor and Head of the School of Mizhavu, he spared no efforts to not solely revamp Koodiyattam however Patakam (a solo vocal rendition much like that of koothu) too.

Narayanan Nambiar stayed all through his life in Killikkurissimangalam in Palakkad district, a spot that has given beginning to a number of nice artistes and students within the final century. Along with his astounding reminiscence, Nambiar might recollect the texts of Koothu, Koodiyattam and Patakam each on and off stage. He was conferred the Padma Shri, and a recipient of the Central and State Sangeet Natak Akademi awards and fellowships, apart from a number of different Nationwide and State-level honour.

Mizhavu exponent
Mizhavu Thayambaka

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