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Theatre doyen Kavalam Narayana Panicker cremated

Theatre doyen Kavalam Narayana Panicker cremated

Thiruvananthapuram: The body of Malayalam theatre veteran Kavalam Narayana Panicker, known as one who simplified the nuances of this art form, was cremated with full state honours at his home town in Kavalam in Alappuzha district on Tuesday.

He passed away late on Sunday night after suffering from age-related sickness. He was 88.

The state paid rich tributes to the playwright with condolences pouring in from across the state.

In his condolence message, state Governor Justice (Retd) P Sathsivam said Panicker's death was a great loss to the Indian art and cultural arena.

"With an unparallelled insight into Indian classical and folk traditions, Kavalam retold the classical through the native idiom, thus rendering a new expression to theatre and poetry. As an authority on many aspects of folk tradition, he had inspired artistes and academics alike," he said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Panicker would always be remembered for his unique contributions in drama and poetry. His passing away was an irreparable loss to the state.

Veteran Marxist leader, V S Achutanandan and Opposition leader, Ramesh Chennithala, were among those who offered their tributes to Panicker

Even though a lawyer by profession, Kavalam, as he was popularly known, branched out to his pet profession, the theatre.

And since being nominated as the secretary of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi in 1961, he had no reason to look back and was a most popular playwright, theatre director, poet and lyricist.

Writing plays and staging them had always been his passion, and he staged his plays globally.

In his long professional career, he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and he was also decorated with the Padma Bhushan.

He wrote over 26 Malayalam plays, many adapted from classical Sanskrit dramas and even William Shakespeare's works. He is credited for being the founder-director of theatre troupe Sopanam and also of the Centre for Performing Arts, Training and Research here.

Known for his humility and his simple approach, Kavalam was always surrounded by a crowd wherever he went as he had no airs.

He also turned lyricist for a few Malayalam films, which twice fetched him the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Lyrics.

Kavalam was one who forayed into folklore and even had his own distinctive style, which was hugely popular in the state.

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