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Remembering the Theatre Doyen: Kavalam Narayana Panicker cremated in his hometown in Kerala

Kavalam Narayana Panicker was greatly inspired by Sanskrit plays like Kalidasa, Shakuntalam on one hand and plays of William Shakespeare on the other

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Kavalam Narayana Panicker. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons
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  • Kavalam Narayana Panicker was an Indian playwright and poet
  • He was an activist in the days of Kerala theater movement
  • Panicker passed away last Sunday and the entire theater fraternity is mourning his death

An eminent dramatist, playwright, lyricist and poet of India, Kavalam Narayana Panicker was the theatre doyen of India.  He had been suffering from kidney-related problems for quite some time and breathed his last on Sunday, June 26, in his residence at Trivandrum.

This Malayalam theatre veteran was cremated with full state honours at his home town in Kavalam in Alappuzha district in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, June 28.

Panicker was a master of his art and he knew how to portray folk tales to the audience in the best possible way. He had worked with the greatest stage actors and had been a favorite of all his co-workers. They recall that he had always been a sport and a lover of his art till the very end. It was his lively spirit that urged his actors and crew to do their best. “He was like a wheel that kept rolling despite his age. He was always young at heart,” director  Fazil told TOI.

Kavalam Narayana Panicker. Image source: madhyamam.com
Kavalam Narayana Panicker. Image source: madhyamam.com

His enthusiasm for theater had turned him into a dramatist from a lawyer. He is said to have 26 plays to his name, till date. He was greatly inspired by Sanskrit plays like Kalidasa, Shakuntalam on one hand and plays of William Shakespeare on the other. In fact he was planning on conducting a recreation of his play based on Abhigyanam Shakuntalam of Kalidasa, this year in 2016. Unfortunately, now his idea will never be able to see the light of the day.

Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

While talking to TOI, Manju Warrier, an actor, who was trained by Panicker from the very beginning told, “I stepped into theater for the first time through his Shakunthalam, with his blessings. In those two weeks when I trained under him, I saw him transform into a legend. But even while he corrected my mistakes, it was with love, and I called him ‘grandpa’ in my mind. It was his greatest dream during his last days that Shakunthalam be recreated on stage.”

Panicker had been immensely active in the theater movement of Kerala as well. He, along with some of his contemporaries had started and strengthened the trend of indigenous plays and showcasing the folk culture of Kerala through them.

He wanted to direct and write more plays in Sanskrit because he opined that Sanskrit was essentially a part of ancient Indian culture, something very unique to India. Ignoring or neglecting Sanskrit would mean overlooking intricacies of one’s own culture. Besides, he did not perceive Sanskrit to be a difficult language, said the TOI report.

Panicker will be immensely missed not only by Kerala but also by every other theater enthusiast in India. This hollow in the heart of theater will never be fulfilled.

This report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Indeed a great man in the theatre genre! His plays were very famous during his times

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Infosys Donates Rs 2.50cr To A Hospital in Kerala

Infosys donates Rs 2.50cr to Kerala hospital

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Infosys donates Rs 2.50cr to Kerala hospital.
Infosys donates Rs 2.50cr to Kerala hospital. (Wikimedia Commons)

Tech major Infosys has donated Rs 2.50 crore to the Neurosurgery Department of the state-run Medical College hospital, here.

The money was used to install a brand new neurosurgery dedicated operating microscope, replacing a two decade old one.

Speaking to IANS, P. Anil, Head of Department Neurosurgery, said that Infosys answered to a request he had made in 2017.

“I took a chance and I wrote to Infosys if they can come to our help. It was an year back. Soon they responded and after they undertook a brief study of our activities, they decided to help us,” he added.

“In between there were some issues with regards to GST but finally the equipment has been installed. We have already put it to use in the first case, a few days back,” said Anil.

Representational image for Hospital.
Representational image. Pixabay

Anil said the new piece of device has come as a huge boon to the patients who mostly come from poor background.

The Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital has the most crowded casualty department with accident cases coming for expert and quick treatment.

Speaking to IANS, Sunil Jose, a top official attached to the Infosys unit here, said their company always has set aside money as part of the corporate social responsibility programme.

“Our studies found out that the department provides yeomen services to accident victims and most of the patients came from the low and middle income category.

“In this microscope project, we started working on it as soon as we got the proposal from the Neurosurgery Department. We felt that they are doing a good job and sanctioned it,” said Jose.

Incidentally this is not the first time that Infosys have helped the hospital. They had built a sky walk connecting the major building after finding out that patients were being moved in stretchers through the road.  IANS