nandakumaran nairKottakkal Nandakumaran Nair:
Born in 1948, Shri Nandakumaran Nair joined Kottakkal at the tender age of 14 and trained in Kathakali for 16 years under the tutelage of Kottakkal Krishnan Kutty Nair. He has given performances at several events all over India including notable ones such as the Asiad, 1992 and the National Games, 2015. He has also conducted workshops and performed extensively abroad in countries such as Germany, Brazil, Poland, China, etc. Shri Nandakumaran has received multiple awards including the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award in 2009, Established Artist of ICCR since 2003, Kerala Kalamandalam Award for the best Kathakali Actor in 2016, among others. His repertoire also includes a role as the lead actor in the film ‘Keli Kottu’.
balasuKalamandalam Balasubramanian:
Arguably one of the most renowned Kathakali artistes today best known for essaying pacha characters, Shri Balasubramanian has been performing for over three decades. He received solid training under Padmabhushan Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair and Padmasree Kalamandalam Gopi during his education in Kerala Kalamandalam followed by a 2-year senior scholarship as well as a fellowship. His contribution to the art goes beyond stage performances in that he has worked in documentaries and films, choreographed creative pieces, conducted workshops, and written books on Kathakali. Shri Balasubramanian has received several awards including the Kerala Kalamandalam Award, Natyasree Puraskar, Natya Bharathi among others.
hari r nairKalamandalam Hari R. Nair:
Born in 1977, Shri Hari R. Nair completed his 6-year Diploma in Kathakali Vesham with First Rank from Kalamandalam in 1998 followed by a scholarship from the Dept. Of Culture in New Delhi. He has trained under Kalamandalam Rajasekaran, Kalamandalam Prasannakumar and Kalamandalam Gopakumar. Since 2002, he has been working as a temporary instructor at Kalamandalam and has performed extensively in India and abroad. For his contribution to Kathakali, he has been honoured with several awards including A.D. Boland Gold Medal, Kumini award, Best Thadi Vesha Artiste BCK Bangalore, Navyakulam Aswadaka Sangam Fellowship, etc.
rajeevKalamandalam Rajeev:
Born in 1974, Shri Rajeev has been performing Kathakali for over 35 years. He completed his Diploma and post-diploma in Kathakali Vesham from Kalamandalam in 1999, followed by a two-year fellowship granted by the Govt. of India. Shri Rajeev has been honoured with multiple awards including the A.D. Bolland Gold Medal, Achuta Warrior Award, Kummini Award, first prize in Kathakali from Kerala University Art festival, etc. His performances have led him to travel extensively in India and abroad.
vijayakumarKalamandalam Vijayakumar:
Shri Vijayakumar is a Kathakali artist initiated into the art right after high school in 1988. He completed his diploma and post-diploma in Kalamandalam followed by further training under Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody as part of a Central Government scholarship. He was also trained by Kalamandalam Ramadas, Kalamandalam Gopalakrishnan and Kalamandalam Balasubramanian. He has been a recipient of several awards such as Vazhenkada Memorial award, Chalakudy Nambeesan Memorial award, Bismillah Khan award conferred by the Sangeeta Nataka Academy among others. Shri Vijayakumar has given several performances in India and foreign countries such as America, Thailand, Singapore, UAE, etc. Currently, he is a lecturer at the Unnayi Warrier Smaraka Kalanilayam.
manojKalanilayam Manoj:
Born in 1984, Shri Manoj is a Kathakali artiste trained at the Kalanilayam under the tutelage of Kalanilayam Gopi and Kalanilayam Gopinath. He won a scholarship from the Central Human Resources. He has given performances in India and abroad including countries such as China, Malta, etc. He lives with his wife and children at Irinjalakuda, Kerala.
arunrajKalamandalam Arun Raju:
Arun Raju is a Kathakali artiste initiated into the art at a young age of 10. He studied for two years at the Sandarshan Kathakali School under Kalamandalam Shanmukha Das. Following that, he joined Kalamandalam in 2006 and continued his training under several teachers including Padmashree Kalamandalam Gopi, Kalamandalam Ramdas, etc. and is now pursuing his MPhil program. He has won a fellowship in Kerala Samskarika Vakuppu this year.

Kalamandalam Anurag:
Born in 1989, Kalamandalam Anurag, joined Kalamandalam in 2001 and studied 12 years in the Thekkan kalari under Gurus Kalamandalam Rajashekharan, Kalamandalam Prasanna Kumar, Kalamandalam Ravi Kumar and Kalamandalam Hari R Nair. He is recipient of Kunju Nair Smaraka award and A.D.Bolland Gold medal. Presently he is a Dubai resident pursuing his professional career.
Kalamandalam Bajio:
Kalamandalam Bajio stepped into Kathakali world at his tender age of 5 under the training of Kalamandalam Soman and did his arangettam at the age of 7. He joined Kalamandalam in 2004 and completed his BA under Kalamandalam Mukundan, Kalamandalam Sooryanarayanan, Kalamandalam Krishnakumar and a further 1 year special training under Padmashri Kalamandalam Gopi ashan. Has attended workshops under greats like Mrinalini Sarabhai and trained students for Spic macay. Presently a Dubai resident and keeps his love for the art alive through his association with IKKF for the second consecutive year.
Kottakkal MadhuKottakkal Madhu:
Born in 1968, Kottakkal Madhu is a noted singer and composer working as a senior faculty member of PSV Natyasangham, Kottakkal. After his initial training in Carnatic music, he joined PSV Natyasangham where he learned Kathakali music under Kalamandalam Neelakantan Nambeesan, Kalamandalam Unnikrishna Kurup, Kottakkal Gopala Pisharody and Kottakkal Parameswaran Namboodiri. His comfort with different forms of music led him to collaborate with artistes like Trichi Ganesan, Sreevalsan Menon, Ramakrishnan Moorthi, etc. Shri Madhu has also sung for documentaries and films, and is an ‘A Grade’ artiste of the AIR. He has been honoured with several awards and titles including the Kalasree Award and the ‘Veerashrunkhala’.
Kalamandalam Jayaprakash:
Born in 1968, Shri Jayaprakash has been a Kathakali music performer for around 25 years. He started his training with Carnatic music for four years until 1986. Following that, he joined Kalamandalam to learn Kathakali music and continued his training for 8 years until he completed his diploma and post-diploma. Over the course of his long career, he has performed extensively in India and abroad, and has been honoured with multiple awards like the Venmani Award, Naalissery Bhagavathy Award, Natyapriya Thrissur Award, etc. He also sings for Mohiniyattam and Bharatanatyam performances and is trained to play the Nadaswaram as well.
Kalamandalam Sudheesh:
Shri Sudheesh was initiated into Kathakali music right after school. He completed his Diploma followed by post-Diploma in 2002 from Kalamandalam. He trained under several teachers including Madambi Subramanian, Kalamandalam Hyder Ali, Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan among others. He worked as a teacher in his alma mater for 10 years and now teaches at the RLV Institute. Shri Sudheesh has been honoured with multiple awards including the Bhagavathar Kunjunni Thampuran Endowment, Venmani Haridas Award, etc. He has performed in India as well as France, Taiwan, Singapore, etc.
Kottakkal Santhosh:
Born in 1980, Kottakkal Santhosh was initiated into music at a young age by Kalamandalam Sreedharan Namboodiri and Kalamandalam Madambi Subramanian. This was followed by a Graduation and post-graduation in Kathakali music from PSV Natyasangham under the tutelage of Kottakkal Narayanan and Kottakkal Madhu, and Sopana Sangeetham under Guruvayur Janardhana Nedungadi. He has been performing regularly at several venues in and out of Kerala, and has also been participating in workshops conducted by SPIC MACAY. Shri Santhosh has been the recipient of multiple awards including the Sreekrishna Swamy Memorial Award, Kalamandalam Shankaran Embranthiri Smaraka Puraskaram, etc.
Kalamandalam V. V. Balaraman:
Shri Balaraman has been a professional Thayampaka and Chenda artiste for the past 50 years having performed all over India as well as abroad. He completed his Diploma and Post Diploma from Kerala Kalamandalam under esteemed teachers such as Kalamandalam Krishnankutty Poduval, Kalamandalam Achunni Poduval and Pallassana Chandra Mannadiar. He also studied Thimila under Thiruvilwamala Chinnakutta Poduval, Pallavoor Maniyan Marar and Pallavoor Kunjikuttan Marar. Shri Balaraman has been felicitated with the title of ‘Veerasrinkhala’ among others. He has also been the recipient of several awards including the Kerala Kalamandalam award, Melaprabha Puraskaaram and Suvarna Mudra. He has worked as a faculty member in multiple institutes and retired from Kalamandalam in 2007.
Kottakkal Vijayaraghavan:
Born in 1978, Shri Vijayaraghavan started training for Chenda (percussion instrument) at a very young age under his father. He then continued his training in PSV Natyasangham under Kottakkal Krishnankutty Marar, Kottakkal Prashant Kumar and Paramanna Sasi. Since 2002, he has been teaching at the institute. Shri Vijayaraghavan has been performing at the Thrissur Elanjithara Melam for the past 10 years, and has also performed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He has received multiple awards including the Kalamandalam Kesavan Award, V.V. Menon Puraskaram.
Kalamanadalam Sreehari:
Born in 1991, Sreehari underwent rigorous training in Kathakali Chenda at Kerala Kalamandalam under the tutelage of Kalamandalam Radhakrishna Marar, Kalamandalam Rajan, Kalamandalam Vijayakrishnan, Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan, Kalamandalam Balaraman and kalamandalam Balasundar. He is a recipient of Central Government Scholarship from Ministry of Culture. He was awarded with Irinjalakkuda Kathakali Club endowment, Moothamana Venkichan Award, Navabhava Puraskaram instituted by Chalakkudy Kathakali Club in recognition of his telent. Sreehari has performed in many parts of the world - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Japan and China.
Sadanam Bharatharajan:
Sadanam Bharatharajan is a Maddalam artiste hailing from Peringode, Kerala. He was initiated into the art in 1992 while studying in high school. Following that, he completed a six year intensive course and obtained his post-graduate degree from the Gandhi Seva Sadanam Kathakali Academy in the year 2000. He mainly studied under Shri Cherpulassery Sivan (Gurukula Vidyabhyasam). Other teachers include Shri Eravath Appumarar, V. Chandran, Sadanam Rajan, Sadanam Devadas and Sadanam Sreedharan. Over the years, he has won several prizes and performed in many countries in Europe, Middle East and the Caribbean.
Kottakkal Radhakrishnan:
Shri Radhakrishnan is a Maddalam (percussion instrument) artiste from Malappuram, Kerala. He trained under Nellaya Unnikrishnan Nair at the PSV Natyasangham, and has performed extensively in Kerala. He has also been the recipient of several awards including the Hyder Ali Smaraka puraskaram, Kalamandalam Gopalakrishnan Smaraka Puraskaram, etc.
Biju Attupuram:
Born in 1973 in Malappuram, Kerala, Shri Biju trained under Kalamandalam Gopikuttan and Sadanam Ramachandran. Currently, he lives in Thrissur with his wife and children.
Kalamandalam N. Sivaraman:
An ace chutti artiste known for experimenting and continuously refining the art, Shri Sivaraman was born in 1960 in Magode, Palakkad. He was drawn to Kathakali at an early age and was initiated into make-up in 1974 by the expert teacher, Vellinezhi Ramachandran. He then joined Kalamandalam in 1977 and completed his diploma and post-diploma under the tutelage of Vazhenkada Govinda Warrier, Kalamandalam Rammohan and Valakam Gopala Pillai. This was followed by a 2-year scholarship awarded by the Indian Govt. In 1984, he joined his alma mater as an instructor and finally retired in 2002 as the Head of the Faculty. He has been the favoured make-up and costumes artiste for many of the renowned Kathakali performers including Kalamandalam Gopi through his long, illustrious career. Shri Sivaraman has received several awards including the Kerala Kalamandalam Award, Kalasagar Award and Suvarnamudra among several others.
Kalamandalam Ravikumar:
Born in 1983 in Manoor, Shri Ravikumar trained under Rammohan, Sivaraman and Balan. He is currently based out of PSV Natyasangham in Kottakkal. He lives with his wife and two daughters.
Pallipuram Unnikrishnan:
Born in 1968, Shri Unnikrishnan has trained under Pallipuram Keshavan Nair. He has extensively performed as an aniyara artiste in India as well as in foreign countries such as UAE, France, Amsterdam, Italy, etc. Shri Unnikrishnan is the only artiste who has participated in almost all editions of IKKF. Currently, he lives with his wife and children in Kottayam.
Arun Jagannadhan:
Born in 1985 in Kollam, Kerala, Shri Arun trained under Pallipuram Unnikrishnan. For his performances, he has travelled abroad extensively visiting countries such as Dubai, Muscat, Singapore, Italy, etc.


Kalamadalam Sangeeth Chakyar:
Sangeeth belongs to a traditional Sanskrit Theatrical Performers’ lineage, “Kuttancheri Chakyar Madhom”. He began training in Koodiyaattam under renowned gurus Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar and Padmasree Awardee Kalamandalam Sivan Nambudiri and has attained proficiency in performing all the prominent characters of Sanskrit Plays in vogue. Sangeeth is also trained in stylized narration art-form, Koothu. He has been bestowed with the coveted Ustad Bismilla Khan Yuva Puraskar, National Sangeet Natak Academy award, apart from various other recognitions such as Kalamandalam Yuva Prathibha Puraskar, Kalasagar award et al. Concentrating on finer aspects of histrionics is considered to be his forte. He has been performing for the past decade and half both in India and abroad. Presently he is functioning as a teacher at Kerala Kalamandalam deemed University.
Kalamandalam Krishnendu:
Trained in Koodiyattam at Kerala Kalamandalam, Krishnendu pursued Pre-Masters in 2005, as a student of illustrious Koodiyattam exponent Kalamandalam Girija. Thereafter she joined “Margi Koodiyattam School”, Thiruvananthapuram as a performer and came back to Kalamandalam to complete and attain the Degree, following which she was taken in as an intern, during the course of which she won “KP Navayana Pisharody” gold medal. In tandem, she studied Sanskrit Literature under Kalamandalam Superintendent, Killimangalam Vasudevan. She is functioning as a “Guest Lecturer” at the Kalamandalam Deemed University. Adding a feather to the cap, she won the coveted Usthad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, instituted by the Uttar Pradesh Government and awarded by Sangeet Natak Academy.
Kalamandalam Charu Agaru:
Charu Agaru, a graduate in Koodiyattam, and Koothu from Kerala Kalamandalam, was trained by Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar and Kalamandalam Sivan Nampoothiri. After graduation, Charu attained masters in Theatre Arts from Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit and also an MPhil degree in Theatrical Studies from School Of Letters, MG University. He has been representing Sanskrit Play characters in the stylized Koodiyattam all over India and quite a few overseas venues. He has also been instrumental in directing a few plays for important festivals. Charu is also a recipient of Achutha Kurup Endowment from Kerala Kalamandalam for being the topper in Koodiyaattam. Along with that, Charu has been awarded Nrityanjali award, Kalpatharu Special Jury award, Diamond Jubilee Fellowship of Kerala State, etc. Currently, he is pursuing Doctorate in “Classical Theatre” at School Of Drama, Calicut University, Thrissur.
Kalamandalam Manjunath:
Manjunath is a trainee in Koodiyattam under Kalamandalam Sangeet Chakyar and Kalamandalam Kanaka Kumar. Even as a trainee, he has considerable experience as a performer, being part of the Kalamandalam team in their performances.
Kalamandalam Rashmi:
Rashmi has a Masters in Koodiyaattam from Kerala Kalamandalam and was trained by various established teachers on performance techniques. She has been a part of a few Koodiyaattam choreographies promoted by veterans Guru Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar and Kalamandalam Girija. She is presently engaged in the capacity of a Guest Lecturer in the Koodiyattam faculty. She had been member of the Kalamandalam team for several years in their performances within and abroad.
Kalamandalam Ravikumar:
Ravikumar, hailing from Ammannoor Chakyar family, is a leading contemporary Mizhavu percussionist, trained under gurus such as Kalamandalam Eswaran Unni, for more than five years at Kerala Kalamandalam. He has been a preferred part of Koodiyattam teams performing both in India and abroad. Ravi has been the chief percussionist during the choreography of plays such as Pancharathram, Madhavi, Kaikasi, Bhagavathi-Purappadu, Karnabhaaram initiated by Kalamandalam Rama Chakyar, Kalamandalam Girija, Margi Sathi etc. He also performs for Ammannoor Gurukulam and Margi Centre, Trivandrum. Ravi is very proficient in Mizhavil Thayampaka. Besides, he has been a part of the percussion team for a modern theatrical endeavour, called “The Kitchen”. He is currently the main Mizhavu tutor at Painkulam Rama Chakyar Kalari.
Kalamandalam Vineesh:
Vineesh was initiated into Mizhavu percussion by the legendary Kalamandalam Eswaran Unni and debuted as a performer at the prestigious Kalamandalam Koothambalam in the year 1998 at the age of 15. He has specific experience for supporting the actors of Koodiyattam plays representing any roles. Vineesh was also a part of the Modern Theatrical experience called “The Kitchen”, which was staged in various parts of the world such as Germany. He is presently occupied in the capacity of a tutor at Painkiulam Rama Chakyar Koodiyattam Kalari.
Kalamandalam Vijay:
Vijay has trained as a Mizhaavu percussionist at Kerala Kalamandalam deemed university for about a decade and has completed graduation in the field. He was initiated by well-known Mizhaavu percussionist, Kalamandalam Eswaran Unni and was also trained under Kalamandalam Achutanandan and Kalamandalam Dhanaraj. Vijay has received Diamond Jubiliee Fellowship from Karala Government. He has been performing on Mizhaavu for Koodiyattam, Nangiyarkoothu, Chakyaarkoothu and Mizhavil Thayampaka.
Kalamandalam Sudheesh:
Though currently an Idakka artiste, he had been trained in chenda for a decade under stalwarts such as Varanasi Narayanan Nampoothiri, Kalamandalam Balasundar, Kalamandalam Vijayakrishnan etc. He has proven himself as an Idakka player for the past several years and is still pursuing accomplishing finer aspects of the percussion that he handles.


Cherpulassery Rajesh:
Born in 1980, Shri Rajesh is a Chenda (percussion instrument) artiste hailing from Cherpulassery, Kerala. He learnt the art of Chenda under Cherpulassery Krishna Kumar Poduval in the Gurukula system. He won first prize in the State youth festival. He continues to live in Cherpulassery with his wife and children.
Ottapalam Hari:
Shri Hari is a Thimila and Chenda (percussion instrument) artiste hailing from Ottapalam, Kerala. He trained in Chenda under Mayannur Raju and Thimila under Chunangadu Mohanan. He won second prize in Thayampaka in the Youth Festival 1999-2000. Shri Hari has performed Thimila in the Panchavadyam in IKKF 2016.
Sudheer Kumar:
Born in 1979, Shri Sudheer Kumar is a Chenda (percussion instrument) artiste trained under Attannur Sankaran Kutty Marar. He lives in Palghat with his wife and daughter.
Asiad Sasi:
Shri Sasi hails from Mukundapuram taluk, and has received a solid training under Markoth Narayana Marar, Annamanata Parameshwara Marar, K.M. Parameshwara Marar, etc. Under Mattanoor Sankarankutty marar, he has visited and performed in several countries including UK, France, Italy, Brazil, Norway etc. Shri Sasi has been honoured with multiple awards like the Rasa award, Payyanoor Subramnya Kshetra award, participated in Asiad 1982, winner of the Stalin National Panchavadyam competition, Puttaparthi Sai Baba award among others.