Sri Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair (1928-2007), known as the apostle of the pristine tradition of Kathakali, was one of the great masters of the art and former Principal of the Kerala Kalamandalam.

Since 2008 his birth anniversary is celebrated and death anniversary is commemorated respectively during the months October and April. by his disciples and grand disciples under the aegis of the organization dedicated to his memory The organization has been registered as Trust during November 2009.

The trust uphold his outstanding and unique contributions to the art of Kathakali as a trainer par excellence, performer and author of authentic books on its grammar and techniques; to preserve and promote the pristine tradition of Kathakali to which the master dedicated his life; to groom young, up and coming up artists; to disseminate the aesthetics of the form among the general public through a variety of programmes, etc., among others.

The functions include tribute, memorial speeches, honouring deserving artists, programmes to encourage young talents and performance by the masters of his school who are his disciples / grand disciples, with funds borrowed and taken from the pocket of the Trustees.


The remembrance programme during 2016 was held on 23 rd and 24th April, 2016 at the registered office of the trust and Kerala Sahithya Academy at Thrissur respectively. The 2 days programme was remarkable by a multitude of sessions in the forenoon and afternoon concerned with different aspects of Kathakali with special reference to its aesthetics and the contribution of Guru Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair to preserve and promote the art as a classical and unique dance drama of Kerala. Programme, among others included the following

Morning Session

  • Lighting of lamp in memory of the legendary master
  • Get together of the disciples and grand disciples of the Guru and paying tributes to his memory
  • Seminar on “Kottayam Plays” with special reference to the books authored by Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair on its aesthetics.

Afternoon session

  • Video presentation of Cholliyattam of Guru Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair projecting the aesthetics of his body language and facial expressions
  • Remembrance speech and release of the biography of the legend.
  • Staging of Kathakali

More than 500 people had assembled to participate in the programme from different walks of life which included among others, connoisseurs and scholars as well as disciples and grand disciples of the Guru who still cherish the memories about him with great respect and admiration. The major attraction of the session was the release of the small biography of the legend “ Kathakali Panini” . The meeting was inaugurated by Padmasree Kalamandalam Gopi, the most celebrated Kathakali artist. He commented that Padmanabhan Nair will be remembered in the history of Kathakali as a legend who lit the way to preserve the art for the coming generation with its purity and dignity. Dr. C.M. Neelakantan, Academic Director, Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, delivered the key-note address in the presence of renowned artistes and celebrities like Kalamandalam Sumathy and Suganthi. All the speakers were very keen to highlight the unique contribution made by the Guru for the promotion and propagation of Kathakali keeping its purity and distinction unalloyed and to pass it to coming generations. The Kathakali which was staged last marking the end of the whole programmes was specially notable by the presence of eminent artists. The depiction of some marvelous pieces from the play of “Balivadham” highly textual and stylized in nature and authored by renowned poet Kottarakkara Thampuran, was nothing less than a visual extravagance for the audience.

Books & Publications

Kathakali Vesham
Naatyacharyante Jeevitha Mudrakal
Mohiniyaatam Charithram, Sidhaantham, Prayogam