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 2017 was held on 15th and 16th April, 2017 at Chakkiankavu Kuruvattur and Kerala Sangeet Natak 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.
The morning session started with a seminar on ‘Ramanattam plays’ with special reference to the books authored by Guru Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair detailing its aesthetics and technical perfection. The paper was presented by Prof. Kalamandalam M.P.S. Namboodiri, a noted Kathakali artist. Eminent speakers included personalities like Padmasree Kalamandalam Gopi, who is the most celebrated living artiste representing the Kalluvazhi School of Kathakali. Some senior disciples of the Guru were also present to join the fruitful discussion which lasted till noon. The session was really thought provoking as it led to serious deliberations on the need for providing sufficient chances for stage performances for the upcoming artists in institutions like the Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Arts and Culture, among others.
The afternoon session which started at 3 P.M. was a touching one comprising the remembrance speech and sharing of memories by the disciples of the maestro and his wife. Sri. Kottakkal Gopi Nair, a celebrated Kathakali artist inaugurated the meeting. He cherished the fruitful memories of his association with Padmanabhan Nair. A video presentation of Kathakali performed by the legend lasting for an hour was made which was a thrilling experience for the viewers of the art.