They have the concentration, suggestion, and metaphorical dimension of a poem. Some of Kavalam Narayana Panikkar's main works can be named as Sakshi i.e. 'Witness' in 1964, Daivattar or 'God-man' in 1973, Tiruvazhithan in 1974, Avanavan katampa or 'Self as the Obstacle' in 1975, Ottayan or 'The Lone Tusker' in 1977, Karimkutty in 1983, Aram i.e. 'Sacrificial Firewood' in 1989, Teyyateyyam or 'Spirit of the Spirit' in 1991, and Poranadi or 'Outsider' in 1995. Although rooted in Kerala's heritage and the Natyashastra, Kavalam Narayana Panikkar absorbed various trends in world theatre, recreating them. He also translated drama from English to Malayalam. In 1988, Kavalam Narayana Panikkar wrote the film script of Marattam or Masquerade for eminent director G. Aravindan, based on his own play about a Kathakali performer's identification with his role.
Kavalam Narayana Panikkar is an adept in all traditional and ritualistic forms from Kerala. Panikkar employed new rhythms in his stylized, often poetic and musical, dialogues with the result that his drama combined music, dance, and literature. Kavalam Narayana Panikkar explored Kalaripayattu martial art and classical genres like Kathakali and Kutiyattam imaginatively, to give appropriate shape to visual communication and to accentuate auditory impressions. Kavalam Narayana Panikkar related the splendor of Sanskrit theatre to the ingenuity of folk and tribal theatre. The Sanskrit classics he directed in this style include Bodhayana's Bhagavadajjukiya in 1976, Bhasa's Madhyamavyayoga in 1978, Dutavakya in 1980, Urubbanga in 1983, and Karnabhara in 1984, and Kalidasa's Vikramorvasiya in 1981 and Abhijnana-Sakuntala in 1982. They revolutionized the staging of classical drama in India. Some of them toured abroad. Kavalam Narayana Panikkar also gave a new orientation to Mohiniyattam dance by introducing Kerala's traditional Sopana music and rhythm patterns.