The Royal Heroine of Kathakali - K.K. GOPALAKRISHNAN
Septuagenarian Kottakkal Sivaraman, the Kathakali actor renowned for his heroine roles, is the recipient of the first Mali-Karnasapadam award, instituted by the Mali Foundation in memory of the late Mali V. Madhavan Nair, for his lifetime contributions to Kathakali.
Kottakkal Sivaraman is 72. Discharged from hospital after a couple of months of chikan guniya, he is well on his way to recovery. The man who delighted Kathakali followers for over five decades felt let down that they stayed away in his moment of suffering. "This is the fate of any Kathakali artist in Kerala", he says, sitting on the veranda of his house, surrounded by nature, in Karalmanna of Palakkad district.
It was through Sivaraman, the female characters of Kathakali, traditionally donned by men, earned recognition and equal status with male characters, especially in the northern school of the art. Advancing years have compelled him to substantially limit his performances and retire from most of his celebrated roles, except that of Damayanti in Nalacharitam and Kunti in Karnasapadam.
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