Kutiyattam virtuoso, Guru G. Venu, will receive the “Nruthya Pitamaha” title tomorrow from the Bangalore-based Urise Vedic Sangeetha Academy. The award ceremony is scheduled to take place at Natanakairali in Irinjalakuda.
Venu began his Kathakali training at the age of 11 under Keerickattu Sankara Pillai and later joined Viswa Kala Kendra, founded by Guru Gopinath. His focus was on the “Southern system” (Tekkanchitta) and creative dance. To master Kathakali mudras, he sought guidance from Guru Chengannur Raman Pillai. Beyond Kathakali, he aimed to preserve endangered Kerala art forms, leading to the establishment of Natana Kairali in 1975. This organization revived Kākkāriśśi Nāṭakaṁ, Paṭayaṇi, Muṭiyeṭṭu, and more.
Subsequently, he immersed himself in Kudiyattam under Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar and Guru Ammannur Parameswara Chakyar. The Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam was founded in Irinjalakuda in 1982. In 1984, Guru G. Venu made his Arangeettam debut in Kudiyattam, focusing exclusively on it.
A multifaceted artist, Venu toured India and abroad, including France, England, Switzerland, Holland, Japan. His expertise led to lecture demonstrations in locations such as Copenhagen, Zurich, and Italy. He extended his Kudiyattam performances to South Korea, Malaysia, Sweden, and more. Notable were his adaptations of Kalidasa’s plays and Bhāsa’s works for Kudiyattam. Venu, who holds the positions of Kulapathy and Director of Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam, has devised a unique actor training methodology called Navarasa Sadhana, which attracts students worldwide.
Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar, Chairman of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi, is set to grace the occasion as the chief guest of honor. The atmosphere will be further enriched by a performance of Parvati Viraham Kutiyattam, presented by Venu’s daughter, Kapila Venu, herself an accomplished Kudiyattam artist.