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Kalanilayam takeover: feasibility study begins

By K. Santhosh

THRISSUR, MARCH 10 . The Government is learnt to have asked the Kerala Kalamandalam to do a feasibility study on acquiring the Irinjalakuda-based Unnayi Warrier Smaraka Kalanilayam.

If the Government finds the acquisition feasible, the Kalanilayam may function as an annex of the Kerala Kalamandalam. Representatives of Kalamandalam had visited the Kalanilayam last week to assess its functioning, and verify the assets and liabilities, the Kalanilayam secretary, K.N. Unnikrishnan says.

The Kalanilayam, established in 1955 in memory of one of the greats of Malayalam literature, Unnayi Warrier, is going through a rough patch. There are 16 posts at Kalanilayam, of which seven have not been filled. The Government had sanctioned parity for Kalanilayam teachers with those in aided schools (G.O. Rt No. 2121/82 H.Edn dated November 22, 1982, and G.O. M.S. No. 17184/CD dated April 17, 1984). The Special (Service) Rules were approved on August 6, 1986. Following the recommendation of a revision committee, chaired by Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan, the annual Government grant was reduced to Rs. 8 lakhs, with effect from June 1, 1999.

"This has affected the institution. We had represented to the Government several times, demanding revocation of the order, but to no avail. Only a Government takeover can now save the institution," Mr. Unnikrishnan says.

The Kalanilayam has assets worth Rs. 3.5 crores and liabilities of Rs. 6 lakhs. The salary arrears to be paid add up to Rs. 15 lakhs, he says. The institution imparts training in Kathakali, music, percussion and chutti (make-up), in the Gurukula tradition. It has had in its faculty stalwarts such as Pallipuram Gopalan Nair, Kalamandalam Karunakaran, Cherthala Kuttappa Kurup, Vengoor Ramakrishnan Nair and Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri.

The Kalanilayam had recently staged the unabridged version of the play, `Nalacharitham', Unnayi Warrier's magnum opus.

The institution has also choreographed new plays such as `Padmavati Parinayam', written by K. Narendra Warrier. Characters such as Varaha and Pisachu have been introduced into Kathakali through this play, Mr. Unnikrishnan says.

The production of another new play, `Sangamesa Mahatmyam', based on the legends relating to the Koodalmanikya temple, will be launched on March 17.

Following resolutions passed by the general bodies on November 27, 1981, and November 21, 2002, the Kalanilayam had requested the Government to take over the institution.

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