Exit of Vasu Pisharody marks the finale of Vazhenkada style in Kathakali

Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody who passed away a couple of days ago occupied a space among the Kathakali artistes who had made searching and arduous demands on the creative sensibility of the art they pursued. He was 79.

Born in Kongad in Palakaad district, he was groomed by the doyen Guru Vazhenkada Kunchu Nair a formidable Kathakali maestro of yesteryear who served  Kottakkal PSV Natya Sangham and Kerala Kalamandalam as a mentor and master performer.  The process of sumptuous coaching under the maestro evidently did wonders to the young Vasu Pisharody

Thus, the enormously talented boy tutored with utmost care by the master blossomed in due course to hug the Kathakali arena with refined and well-balanced performances which often propelled the onlookers to jovial disposition of the classic art form.

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Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody was one Kathakali dancer-actor who had internalized the formal grammar of the art form to the extent that few could dispute his ability to put out effectually the rich and traditional language of expression and appearance. A stubborn perfectionist who clung firmly to the lessons of the Kathakali Kalari, he was also a restrained actor on stage guarded not to go overboard with histrionic pomp. What stood out in his physical features were his unusually long and full-bodied fingers which contributed immensely to the making of striking mudras while translating the narratives.

Masterpiece roles

The premier slots in which Vasu Pisharody dazzled on stage included Nalan and  Pushkaran in Nalacharitham 1 and 2 and Bahukan in Nalacharitham 3 and 4, Bhimasenan in Kalyanasaugandhikam, Dharmaputhrar in Kirmeeravadham, Arjunan in Kalakeyavadham, Subhadraharanam, Santhanagopalam, Rugmangathan in Rugmangathacharitham, Ravanan in Ravanolbhavam,  Keechakan in Keechakavadham and Kattalan in Nalacharitham 2 and  Kiratham.

He had served his alma mater as a teacher for two decades before retiring as vice-principal in 1999. His work ‘Ranganaishadham’, an acting manual, is an asset to the dance drama.

He was the recipient of several awards which included Kerala Kalamandalam Award, Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award, Kalamandalam Fellowship, Kerala State Kathakali Award and very recently the Vazhenkada Kunju Nair Samasthuthi Samman.


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