Abhinaya, his forte
Sadanam Krishnankutty has completed 50 years as a leading Kathakali artiste.
Born in Cherpulassery in Palakkad district, Sadanam Krishnankutty was fashioned into a consummate Kathakali performer by the grooming he had under an array of stalwarts of his time like Thekkinkattil Ravunni Nair, Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair, and also the Koodiyattom maestro Mani Madhava Chakyar. He did his higher studies under Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair with a scholarship from the Department of Culture, New Delhi.
The actor says he is where he is through the rigorous training he received. Classes began at 3 a.m. and continued till late into the night. The rigorous training made him an excellent artiste. He worked for short stints at Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthy, Nritha Kalamandir, Patna, Unnai Warrier Smaraka Kalanilayam, Irinjalakuda, and Sadanam, his alma mater.
At Guruvayur, he was the favourite teacher of Krishnanattam artistes who wanted to hone their skills in performance. It took a year-and-a-half for Krishnankutty to train them and the project ended with the production of the play 'Dakshagarvasamanam.' Perhaps, what had compelled the artiste to move from one institution to another, was his busy schedules as a performer right from the day he graduated from Sadanam.
Although pachcha and kathi are his favourites, he demonstrated dexterity in portraying all roles. And when he portrays them, one can discern how his expressions goes beyond what one could see on the stage. That was why Mali never had to think twice about the actor who should don the pivotal role of Karna in `Karnasapadham.' `Karnasapadham' was a break for Krishnankutty. "More than 80 percent of the roles I do nowadays are Karna," he said.
In this connection, Krishnankutty remembered how Mali had taken meticulous care in the production of the play in Doordarshan, which was a success. He explained that each frame was supervised by the playwright.
CONSUMMATE ARTISTE: Sadanam Krishnankutty has played the lead in `Illiad,' `King Lear' and `Julius Caesar.'
At 65, Krishnankutty is also perhaps the only actor who has performed in numerous modern plays. It was his consummate abhinaya that won him an invitation to play the lead roles in `Illiad,' `King Lear,' `Julius Caesar' and so on. "But I always prefer only more physically demanding roles," he said while discussing the merits and demerits of the varied roles he has presented over the past 50 years.
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