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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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Top 10 Malayalam movies you should definitely watch

Mollywood has some great cinematic pieces to its credit. India's first Rs.1000 crore film was also announced in Mollywood only.

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Maayalam movies are some of the best movies produced in India. Wikimedia Commons
Maayalam movies are some of the best movies produced in India. Wikimedia Commons
  • Kerala is one of the best states in India to live, and their movies are some of the best too.
  • Malayalam film industry or Mollywood is said to be superior in terms of screenplay and plots than other film industries in India.
  • The new and old Malayalam movies, all are equally beautiful and some of them are nothing short of a thrilling ride for the audiences.

Malayalam film industry or Mollywood is highly underrated, we don’t hear much about it. Every year, this industry produces some of the best films which are not only appreciated by audiences but also by critics. Malayalam movies are a great example of sensible cinema.

Mollywood has some great cinematic pieces to its credit. India’s first Rs.1000 crore film was also announced in Mollywood only. Malayalam movies are said to be superior in terms of stories, screenplay and direction when compared to other Indian language movies. For how truth it holds, let us take a look at top 10 best Malayalam movies one should definitely watch :

Drishyam

Everyone knows about this movie. It was critically acclaimed and won audience’s hearts with its amazing dialogues and performances, especially by Mohanlal. The movie was a thrilling murder suspense, which had all of us at the edge of our seats. This Malayalam movie has been dubbed into various languages and even after years from its initial release in 2013, is still one of the audience’s favourite suspense movies to watch. It’s Bollywood remake of the same name was equally successful.

Guru

Guru was a fantasy movie which used mythological characters like Yamaraj and Chitragupt, to shine the light on the otherwise ignored topic of communal violence. This movie has a universal appeal as it is relevant even today. Guru became a landmark Malayalam movie because of its experimental plotline, and Ilayaraaja’s brilliant music composition. Guru was also India’s official entry to the Oscars’ in the year, 1997.

Loudspeaker 

Loudspeaker, directed by Jayaraj, is the story of an uneducated man who always carries an old tape recorder with him along with his strong opinions. As an organ donor for an old man, he came as a ray of hope and happiness who swipes the sadness away. This is one movie where Mammootty is seen as a simple man and he is also at his best. The story may not be the most original but it will surely give you a warm feeling inside.

North 24 Kaatham 

A story revolving around a man who is a germaphobe and is a patient of OCD? The characters, storyline, and almost everything about this Malayalam movie is different and new. The man who along with three others experience a lifetime worth of troubles is an adventurous ride for the audience. By the end of the film, a happy feeling can be experienced by the viewers.

ABCD

 

ABCD or American Born-Confused Desi is a comedy which portrays the story of an NRI boy who is sent to his hometown in Kerala in order to make him more responsible. One thing leads to another and he ends up being a face of a revolution.The movie’s title is a satire on the term ABCD which is used as an insult to the Desi people.

Rathinirvedam 

Rathinirvedam is the remake of an old Malayalam movieofh the same name. This movie deals with the taboo topic of a young man falling for an older woman. It is one of the boldest films which showcased a love story forbidden by families and societies. It is definitely a must watch for those who are searching for something new.

 Salt N Pepper

This 2013 Mollywood movie directed by Ashiq Abu has an interesting theme and plot line. This Malayali movie mixes up food and love, and there can be no better combination than that for a successful film. This film is a modern day love story of two people who share a mutual love for food. The film will appeal to both foodies and romantics. It is funny, genuine, and a break from all other action and drama flicks we see releasing everyday.

Amen

Amen is a combination of romance, fantasy, comedy and music, which is about small village situated in the backwaters of Kerala. It is the story of a struggling musician. The film stars Fahadh Faasil, Swathi Reddy, and Indrajit Sukumaran in lead roles and is directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery. However, the film’s USP is its convincing story and the smartly written script.

Manjadikuru  

Anjali Menon’s Manjadikuru is an ode to all women who hold their own in a male dominated society. The story is all about childhood  nostalgia and make-believe we often indulge in as children. The film will take you on a beautiful adventure which will make you smile and think at the same time. This beautiful film evoked equally beautiful emotions and presented Kerala in a very pleasing light.

Thira

This movie by Vineeth Srinivasan will take you on a thrilling ride. It deals with the sensitive topic of human trafficking and prostitution.  Thira is a captivating watch which will keep you on the edge of your seat at all times.