Fact Padmanabhan: Kathakali Guru
- Probal Gupta, Bangalore
December 7, 2009
Guru Fact Padmanabhan born on 26th April in 1947 in Thiruvella Pattanamthitta District of Kerala, stands as one of the best Kathakali dancer/actor amongst the stalwarts of Kerala practicing Kathakali. Having started his training at a tender age of 11 under Thiruvella Raman Pillai and Madhavan Pillai, Fact Padmanabhan staged his Arangattam (the debut performance) at the Thiruvella temple performing Rukmini in Rukmini Swayamvaram and on the second day, enacting the role of Aniruddha (The Paccha Vesham – a heroic male character) from Bana Yuddham to start his career both as a Stree Vesham as well as a Paccha Vesham specialist.
To further nurture his training methodology, he came under the able guidance of the then Fact School of Kathakali at Tripunithura, where he underwent rigorous training in Kathakali under Kalamandalam Karunakaran, Kalamalur Karunakaran Nair. He received the scholarship from Central Government to further embellish his training both in Stree as well as Purusha Vesham characters under Guru Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair.
His active performance career has taken him abroad touring Iran in 1968 with the Kerala Kalamandalam Troupe, Europe in 1970, USA along with Europe again in 1974. He was re-invited to Europe for his exemplary performance in 1978. He is one of the few Kathakali dancer actors to have performed for the Edinburgh Festival in 1970. He was one of the solo dancer actors to have been invited by the United States of America to promote Kathakali there.
Guru Fact Padmanabhan is an empanelled artist of Doordarshan and is a chief Committee member of the Karnataka Text Book Board for Kathakali. He imparts training to aspiring practitioners in the Guru Shishya Parampara at his institute Kathakali Nadan, one of the foremost training institutes of Kathakali at Tripunithura (Ernakulam).