(Last Updated on : 20-08-2014)
Kavungal Chathunni Panicker is an actor belonging to the illustrious Kavungal family of six generations of Kathakali artistes. He was born in Thichur village near Vadakkancheri, Thrissur district in 1922. His granduncles Kunhi Krishna Panicker, Chathunni Panicker, and Sankara Panicker were famous performers and teachers. He was named Chathunni because he was born a few months after the death of the senior Chathunni Panicker. His first Kathakali guru was Sankara Panicker during 1873-1936. For higher studies, he became the disciple of Katambur Gopalan Nair.
He appeared on stage at 14 and formed his own troupe at 20. His favourite roles were the heroic Krishna in Diiryodhana-vadham or 'Slaying of Duryodhana', Daksha, Arjuna, Pushkara, Bhima, and the demon Narakasura. With his special sense of rhythm he innovated a variety of kalasams i.e. decorative movements. In 1947 he joined Darpana Academy, Ahmedabad, as Kathakali instructor, and from 1948 toured as a leader with Mrinalini Sarabhai's company for a long time. He was always experimenting her on contemporary roles and choreography.
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