Ottanthulal artist Kalamandalam Geethanandan passes away

Ottanthulal artist Kalamandalam Geethanandan (58) collapsed and died during a performance at Avittathur Mahavishnu Temple in Irinjalakuda near here at 8 pm on Sunday.He was given first aid and taken to a hospital, but could not be saved. Geethanandan had been a faculty member for more than 25 years at the Kalamandalam’s Ottanthulal department.He also acted in many movies including Kamaladalam, Manasinakkare, Thoovalkottaram and Irattakuttikalude Achan.

Kalamandalam Geethanandan was an artist who beautified the art of thullal, feels koodiyattam maestro Margi Madhu. Geethanandan breathed his last on Sunday  during a performance at Irinjalakkuda Avittathoor temple.

“Geethanandan has played a major role in popularising thullal. At present, many students are coming forward to learn thullal. However, very few will continue with that passion, trying to popularise the art form. We are having only a few great names in contemporary scenario, who can be pointed out as the experts in thullal. Geethanandan was one such master and his demise is a great loss to the art,” added Madhu.

It was in 1974 that Geethanandan joined Kalamandalam as a thullal student. His father Keshavan Nambeesan was not in a position to afford the expenses for securing an admission for his son in Kalamandalam. Geethanandan had recently written on Facebook about the unexpected help which came his way from a great man. “It was E Sreedharan, the Metroman who helped me by giving me the admission fees.” Geethanandan made his maiden performance in thullal at the age of nine. After completing the studies at Kalamandalam, he joined the institution as a thullal teacher in 1983 and later became the head of the department. He also won Veerasringala and Thullal Kalanidhi award. He was the first artist to present thullalpadha kacheri (a rendition of thullal in a musical format).

Geethanandan was also the first artist to perform thullal at Paris. He performed at 10 venues in France in 1984. He had also performed at nearly 5,000 venues in India, Muscat, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain. He also has some noted talents in his students’ list, including Neena Prasad and Kavya Madhavan. He has also handled notable roles in nearly 30 Malayalam movies. Mohanlal-starrer Kamaladalam was his first film followed by some good roles in Thoovalkkottaram, Manassinakkare, Narendran Makan Jayakanthan Vaka, Mr Romeo and Kanchi.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed his heartfelt condolence over the sudden demise of Geethanandan. “Geethanandan had made good contributions to make ottanthullal popular. He had groomed hundreds of artists by teaching at Kalamandalam for the past 33 years. he had also shown his ability as an actor in films.”

Courtesy - new indian express

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