In an unfortunate event, Ottanthulal artist Kalamandalam Geethanandan, 58, collapsed and died during a performance at Avittathur Mahavishnu Temple in Irinjalakuda at 8 pm on Sunday evening. The artist was initially given first aid and then rushed to the hospital, but he could not be saved. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed his heartfelt condolences over the sudden demise of Geethanandan. “Geethanandan had made good contributions to make Ottanthullal popular. He had groomed hundreds of artists by teaching at Kalamandalam for the past 33 years. He had also shown his ability as an actor in films,” he said. In case you don’t know who was Kalamandalam Geethanandan, here are 5 interesting facts to know about him:
1. In 1974, Geethanandan joined Kalamandalam as a thullal student. His father was reportedly not in a position to afford the expenses to secure secure admission for his son in Kalamandalam.
2. In a recent Facebook post, Kalamandalam Geethanandan had talked about the unexpected help which came his way from a great man. “It was E Sreedharan, the Metroman who helped me by giving me the admission fees.”
3. Geethanandan’s first performance in thullal came at the age of nine. After completing the studies at Kalamandalam, he joined the institution as a thullal teacher in 1983 and later became the head of the department. He was the first artist to present thullalpadha kacheri (a rendition of thullal in a musical format).
4. He has reportedly performed at over 5,000 venues in India, Muscat, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain. He also has some noted talents in his list of students, including Neena Prasad and Kavya Madhavan. Apart from this, he acted in around 30 Malayalam movies.
5. Kalamandalam Geethanandan made his debut on the big screen with Mohanlal-starrer Kamaladalam and followed it with some good roles in Thoovalkkottaram, Manassinakkare, Narendran Makan Jayakanthan Vaka, Mr Romeo and Kanchi.
Kalamandalam Geethanandan was an artist who beautified the art of thullal, feels koodiyattam maestro Margi Madhu. He had been a faculty member for more than 25 years at the Kalamandalam’s Ottanthulal department.