Born on 25 April 1942 in Kerala, Prof. A Janardhanan – son and disciple of veteran Kathakali exponent Asan T. KChanduPanikkar- was groomed by Rukmini Devi Arundale at Kalakshetra from a young age. A Kathakali artiste schooled in the Kalladikkodan tradition, Janardhanan also trained under Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair. He underwent training in Bharatanatyam under senior teachers Thangamani, Jayalakshmi, Sarada Hoffman and Pushpa Shankar at Kalakshetra. He later served as principal of Kalakshetra for many years.
An exceptional performer, well known for his roles of Rama and Ravana in the Kalakshetra Ramayana dance drama, he also performed the major roles of Buddha in Buddha Avataram, Bheema in Damayanti Swayamvaram, King Nagaraja and Nanan in Kannappar Kuravanji, Mahabali in Kurmavataram, Vajrasena and Utiya in Tagore's play Shyama, the Brahmin Ajamila in Ajamilopakhyanam and most of the male roles in Kathakali dramas.
Janardhanan has performed in all the dance dramas produced by Rukmini Devi and the institute since 1959, and toured with the troupe to West and East Europe, Australia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Far East and America.
He has choreographed two major dance dramas Karna Sapatham in Malayalam and Sri Purandara in Kannada for Kalakshetra.He also choreographed Sri Krishna Jananam for the Dhananjayans’ Bharata Kalalanjali. During his years of training at Kalakshetra, Janardhanan acquired in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit, Carnatic music, and the theoretical aspects of dance and choreography from many stalwarts.
Janardhanan was honoured by the Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham for service to Bharatanatyam. The awards and honours he has received include the ‘Kala Pratibha’ from Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Natana Bhaaskara from Bhaaskara, Payyanur, and the Bharatha Kala Saagara from Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy. Based in Chennai, Janardhanan continues to teach and guide young artistes. He is one of the key persons reviving Rukmini Devi’s dance dramas at Kalakshetra.