CHEMENCHERI KUNHIRAMAN NAIR: The grand old man of Kathakali
Kathakali guru Chemencheri Kunhiraman Nair is 98 years old. He still performs and the favourite role is Krishna. Popularly known as Chemencheri Asan, this grand old man of Kathakali is the still-active last link of the ancient Kallatikkotan style, the very pristine school of the art.
For the art aficionados of the erstwhile Malabar, northern Kerala, thespian Chemencheri Kunhiraman Nair is more than a living legend. Whether at home, training place, performance or public place, you never see him without his innocent smile and eyes twinkling through his thick spectacles.
Chemencheri was born on 26 June 1916. Even at the age of 98, he performs – now with third to sixth generations of artists – like a great grandfather more active than most of his grand children, and continues to teach.
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