Mankompu Sivasankara Pillai debuted on stage as Lalita in Putana moksham or 'Putana's Moksha', at the Mankompu Devi temple premises in 1938. He apprenticed in female characters under the famous Thottam Sankaran Namboodiri during 1881-1943. After four years, he joined the Chengannur Kalari and specialized mpaccha heroes during this period. During vacations, he toured with Chengannur Raman Pillai's troupe for seven years and achieved renown. From 1948, he performed with Mrinalini Sarabhai's troupe on many trips to Europe and South America. In 1974, he was appointed Kathakali instructor in Kerala Kalamandalam, from where he retired in 1983. Perfection in dress, rhythmic movements in cholliattam i.e. acting to songs, a wide range of bhavas, and the parameters of characterization prescribed by Raman Pillai are his plus points. He believes that a true guru must remain a sincere disciple throughout his career. This was the secret of his advanced style of bhavabhinaya.
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