Guru Panivada Tilaka P. K. Narayanan Nambiar, is an acclaimed maestro with exceptional skills in playing the Mizhavu, a unique percussion instrument, that accompany performances of Kutiyattam and Chakyarkoothu. This instrument easily catches attention due to its majestic looks, size and the unique sound it generates. For Mr. Narayanan Nambiar, Mizhavu remains one of his greatest passions in life. He is the son of renowned Kutiyattam artiste, Mr. Mani Madhava Chakyar. The deft fingers of the virtuoso on the Mizhavu had enthralled many a Kutiyattam performance. He has been an inspiring figure for those who wanted to try their hands on the Mizhavu. Mr. Nambiar is an acclaimed performer of the percussion ensemble called Mizhavu Thayambaka involving more than one Mizhavu combined with Edakka, another percussion instrument.
A doyen among Mizhavu players, Mr. Narayanan Nambiar is also greatly admired for his efforts and contributions in reviving Nangiarkoothu the female aspect of Kutiyattam, which is a female solo performance. Most of the Nangiarkoothu performances these days follow the performance manual Sreekrishna Charitham Nangiarammakoothu written by Mr. Nambiar, about two decades ago. Generations to come would fondly recall Mr. Nambiar's contribution in reviving Nangiarkoothu.
Mr. Nambiar is also the author of Attaprakarams (Stage Manuals) for Kutiyattam. One of his noted contributions through which he unveiled his skill and depth of understanding about Kutiyattam was the staging of Kaliyaankam, the performance manual of which was composed over 400 years ago. The play Kaliyaankam was revived by Mr. Nambiar and his brother Mr. P. K. G. Nambiar and was staged to perfection. The original composition was reworked by Mr. Narayanan Nambiar, and he also took the initiative to use a new dance form in the play called Hallisakam.
Yet another notable contribution of Mr. Narayanan Nambiar was the reworked version of Matha Vilasom Prahasanam, a 400-year-old Kutiyattam play. The original performance manual of Matha Vilasom Prahasanam was written by the Pallava King, Mahendra Varman in 700 AD. The play was staged recently in the Capital City of Thiruvananthapuram. This play is usually performed in temples of Malabar region as a ritual to appease the Gods. Mr. Nambiar reworked the dramatics of the play Matha Vilasom Prahasanam, re-constructed it and choreographed to give a new style of presentation. A treatise, titled Taalam in CD format by Mr. Nambiar is an authoritative work on the various taalas (rhythms) used in Kutiyattam. Mr. Nambiar is perhaps one of the few contemporary personalities who is well versed on the intricacies of playing the Mizhavu and is also acknowledged for his scholastic efforts in providing new lease of life to some of the Kutiyattam plays, which were slowly fading to oblivion.
Padmasree Mani Madhava Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam