India is a country well known for its classical dance forms, one of which is Kathakali. A number of Kathakali Artists have performed in festivals all over the world and have bagged global acclaim for the country.
Here is a list of the most famous Kathakali dancers from India:
One of the most revered Kathakali dancers of the country is Kalamandalam Gopi, a disciple of the famous gurus like Padmanabhan Nair, Ramankutty Nair and Kumaran Nair. He has had an illustrious career spanning over three decades, during which he has excelled in all major roles of Northern Kathakali style. His contribution to the field is unmatched and he has also trained many students at the Kerala Kalamandalam. Gopi has been honored with the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
2. Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair
The next name on the list of famous Kathakali dancers is that of Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair, a senior dancer acclaimed for his flowing movements and amazing expressions. His area of expertise is negative portrayals, such as those of Ravana, Narkasura and Duryodhana, though he played the roles of Hanuman and Parsuram in the being of his career.
3. Kalamandalam Krishna Prasad
Kalamandalam Krishna Prasad is another renowned Kathakali dancer, who has trained under the tutelage of Evur Krishnan Nair, Evur Sankara Pillai, Kalamandalam Gopi and Vasu Pisharody. He excels in portraying both male as well as female characters. He was awarded the M A Vellody Medal at Kalamandalam for being the best student, in addition to receiving a number of other honors and awards.
4. Kottakkal Sivaraman
Kottakkal Sivaraman is a well acclaimed Kathakali dancer and choreographer. He has received great recognition for the portrayal of female characters in the dance form, Pingala being the most popular one amongst his enactments. His matchless performances show the emotions of the characters to the best with the help of various nayika bhavas.
5. Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody
Next on this list is Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody, who has given some great performances in the characters of Arjuna, Yudhisthir, Bhima, Nalan, Brahmanan and Bahukan. A prodigy of Balakrishnan Nair, he has performed on several Indiana and international platforms, for which he has received numerous honors including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
6. Kalamandalam Kesavan Namboodiri
Featuring next on the list of top Kathakali dancers in India is Kalamandalam Kesavan Namboodiri, who hails from Kuruvattoor in Kozhikode. He has learnt the dance form from some of the reputed trainers such as Kalamandalam Gopi, Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair, Kalamandalam M P S Namboodiri and Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair. His performances in the country and around the world have received huge appreciation. He excels in Minukku character portrayal, though he is now venturing into other characters like Kathi, Pacha and Thadi.
7. Kavungal Chatunni Panicker
Kavungal Chatunni Panicker is another big name in the field of Kathakali dance and he comes from the prestigious Kavungal family of Thrissur, which had six generations of acclaimed Kathakali artists. His best performances came in the role of Krishna while he showed his versatility in a variety of other roles too. He worked with the famous Darpana Academy run by Mrinalini Sarabhai.
All these great artists are the shining stars of the country in the field of this renowned classical dance form.