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KERALA TOURISM NEWSLETTER

ISSUE: 212

APRIL 2011

Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar

Koyappa Chakyar Madhom in Painkulam village of Thrissur district is a renowned name in the field of Kutiyattam with its splendid lineage of Chakyars who have engaged the aesthetic realms for many generations. Being an inherent of this glorious tradition, Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar could easily slip into the attire of a performer that has made him an indomitable presence in temple festivals and cultural events all over Kerala and abroad.

Rama Chakyar's childhood was amidst the science and aesthetics of Koothu and Kutiyattam. His father, Ammannoor Parameswara Chakyar, was known for his matchless scholarship in the Kramadeepikas and Aattaprakarams. Rama Chakyar was born as the grand nephew of the legendary Painkulam Rama Chakyar. He got the opportunity to witness the genius of this maestro and to be trained under him.

When his uncle shifted to Kalamandalam in 1965, a new door opened before Rama Chakyar. Painkulam took young Raman along with him and continued to impart conscientious training to him in the text, contexts and characterization of Kutiyattam plays.

Rama Chakyar was one of the few students of Kutiyattam when it was introduced as part of the curriculum at the Kerala Kalamandalam. It was at the cholliyattakkalari of Kutiyattam in Kalamandalam where Raman gained authority over the techniques of the four-fold concept of abhinaya. He lifted himself from the rigidities of traditionalism and associated with Koothu and Kutiyattam to meet the necessities of professionalism in both these art forms. While Rama Chakyar proved himself to be fluent in Pacha and Kathi roles in Kutiyattam, his potential in mime and vachikabhinaya find their fullest expression in the roles of Vidooshaka, Sugriva, Hanuman, Jatayu and Soorpanakha.

His famous portrayals include Kaundinya in the 'Subhadradhananjayam' play, Saandilya in the profoundly fascinating farce 'Bhagavaddajjukam', Soorpanakha in 'Soorpanakhangam' and Jatayu in 'Jatayuvadham'. In his Koothu performances, the inflection of Ammannoor Madhava Chakyar and the witticism of Painkulam Rama Chakyar are discernible. All these enactments have carved a unique niche for him in the minds of true rasikas.
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