Training of Margi Madhu
While he practised Koodiyattam as a boy alongside his school education, Margi Madhu immersed himself solely into the art form at the age of 15, becoming, in 1981, the first student at the institution Margi - established by scholar D. Appukkuttan Nair in the year 1970 in Trivandrum, Kerala, where Ammannur Madhava Chakyar, one of the greatest and most celebrated master artists of Koodiyattam, was the Guru. Margi Madhu is a post graduate in Koodiyattam, who has also received training from gurus P. K. Narayanan Nambiar and M. Madhavanunni. He spent over 17 years at Margi, where his guru taught Koodiyattam in the traditional manner, without exams, time limitations or syllabus, and expected students to commit themselves completely to learning. He also did not approve of them dividing their time with academic studies beyond basic schooling, and it was only later when Margi Madhu increased his academic qualifications. He is currently serving as the Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kerala.
Career of Margi Madhu
Margi Madhu had his traditional ‘arangetram’ (on-stage debut) before the inauguration of Margi institute, where he performed some basic Koodiyattam steps. He has travelled widely and performed at various prestigious national and international venues, the likes of Japan, Korea, Europe and Israel. He also performed at the prestigious Kennedy Center at Washington DC, United States, in June 1977, and also for the International jury of UNESCO. He has stated that his favourite roles are the characters of Ravana, Arjuna, Sugreeva and the Vidushaka in Koodiyattam enactments. He has also been involved in many experimental works such as Cross Cultural Mask Dance - Dragon Bond Rite, sponsored by the Japan Society at New York and Washington.
A performer, choreographer and teacher, Margi Madhu has also been involved in research projects on various aspects of the Koodiyattam art form, and has presented papers at various seminars on topics such as ‘Angikaabhinaya in Koodiyattam’ and ‘Body in Koodiyattam’. He is also the author of several books such as ‘Attathinte Vazhiyadayalangal’ - a study of the Chakyar families and their performances in various styles and disciplines and ‘Aranginte Madhavam’ - a collection of essays about the great Koodiyattam master artist, Padma Bhushan Ammannur Madhava Chakyar. Margi Madhu has written the acting manual for four plays - 'Dooth Ghadodgajam', 'Kanchukeeyam', 'Karnabharam' as well as the Koodiyattam manual for Shakespeare’s 'Macbeth'.
Awards received by Margi Madhu
Margi Madhu is a recipient of many prestigious awards such as the Sanskriti National Award for young artists, Yuva Kala Ratna award, Theatre Pasta International Award and the Kerala Kalamandalam Award.
Margi Madhu, known for the intense rendering of his character in his plays, is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in Kalady, Kerala. Along with his elder brother Margi Narayanan, he has been striving to bring back the audiences to an art that would have long become extinct, through teaching at the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit and inspiring a new generation of performers, and at 'Nepathya', a centre established by him in Moozhikulam in 2003, which according to him is “an experiment to work in a democratic atmosphere of art oriented co-operation without any hierarchical mannerisms where everyone is free to voice their opinion”. A Koothambalam also has been erected outside the temple premises, for the purpose of performances.
Forms of Indian Theatre
Folk Theatre of Kerala
Classical Indian Dance Drama
Koodiyattam, Folk Theatre of Kerala
Sangeet Natak Akademi
Moozhikkulam Kochukuttan Chakyar
Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar
Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit