S.Rajam’s (Music Appreciation notes)

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Mani Madhava Chakyar

Birthdays & Anniversaries
15.2.1899 - 14.1.1990 
A member of the clan of the Puthiyedath Chakyar, Madhava Chakyar was born in a village near Quilandy in old Malabar on 15 February 1899. Dancing and acting were in the blood of the family, and Madhava Chakyar had his early training with his mother, whom he lost at the age of nine, Kuniyil Narayanan Nambisan, and afterwards with his uncles, Mani Neelakanta Chakyar, Parameswara Chakyar and Narayana Chakyar. Along with his dance studies, he also learnt Sanskrit from Pannisseri Sankaran Nambudripad and tarka sastra and vedanta from H. H. Rama Varma Parikshit Tampuran of Cochin.

Madhava Chakyar had his arangetram at the age of 11 in Tiruvangayoor Siva temple. From then on he began giving regular performances in various temples. His family had hereditary rights to perform in 40 temples in north and central Kerala. Some of them allowed only Chakyar Koothu to be performed under their auspices, while others encouraged the entire gamut of Koodiyattam, including the ritualistic performance of Anguliankam, and Mathavilasam. Madhava Chakyar won high renown for the artistry of his performance in these temples, as well as in many others. His forte was netraabhinaya, the expressive use of eyes to demonstrate a wide range of emotions. Over the years, Chakyar gave performances outside Kerala too -- in Madras, Bombay, Delhi, Benares, Ujjain and Bhopal, and also before the senior Sankaracharya of Kanchi.

Chakyar taught at Kerala Kalamandalam where he trained advanced students in Kathakali and Koodiyattam. He taught Kathakali also at the P. S.V. Natya Sangham in Kottakkal, and the Gandhi Sevasadanam in Perur. For some time he also taught Sanskrit at the Sanskrit school in Lakkiti where he had his home.

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