Natyaratnam Kannan Pattali Smaraka Kathakali Trust

2020: Padmasree Kalamandalam Gopi Ashan

Vadakke Manalath Govindan Nair more popularly known as Padma Shri Kalamandalam Gopi Asan is regarded one of the greatest Kathakali artistes Kerala has produced. An octogenarian now, he celebrated his eightieth birthday on 21st May this year. 

The internationally famous Kathakali, which combines features of ballet, opera, mime, masque and pantomime, is the best-known art form of Kerala. This form of dance-drama, traditionally presented in temple precincts from dusk to dawn during festivals, demands ten to twelve years of training and regular practice.

Known for the romantic and dramatic portrayal of the virtuous pacha roles in Kathakali, Gopi Asan blends the solid body grammar of the highly stylised Kalluvazhi tradition in which he was groomed with the more flexible, part-realistic, emotion-laden southern style techniques he acquired later in his career. 

Notable among his pacha vesham are his roles enacting mythological righteous characters like Nalan, Karnan and Rukmangadan. However, he is equally adept in playing the choreographically denser roles like Bheeman (in the stories Kalyanasougandhikam or Bakavadham), Arjuna (Subhadraharanam) and Dharmaputran (that’s Yudhishthira in Kirmeeravadham). 

Gopi Asan also excels in the yellow-faced Pazhuppu (ripe) roles such as Balabhadra, and has of late also branched out to portray variety roles like the anti-heroic Kaththi (like Ravana, Keechaka and Duryodhana) black bearded Katalan (Kiratham), red-bearded Bali (Balivijayam) and even the semi-realistic looking Brahmanan in Santhanagopalam.


dstack_admin By dstack_admin 2023/12/04

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