Eminent Kathakali artiste Chavara Parukutty Amma passed away at a private hospital in Chavara, Kollam, around 10 pm on Thursday. She was suffering from age-related illness. Born to N Shankaran Achary and Naniyamma of Chekkattu Kizhakkethil, on February 12, 1943, Parukutty became a Kathakali artiste at a time when the field was male-dominant.
The 76-year-old artiste, who was trained in classical dance during her school days, took to learning Kathakali when she started attending pre-university at SN Women's College and later for BA Economics at Fatima Matha National College. She started her Kathakali training under the guidance of Muthupilakkadu Gopala Panikker, during which she made her debut performance at the Kottankulangara Devi Temple in Kollam district.
She had donned most costumes in Kathakali, except the red beard (chuvanna thadi). Her most favourite character was Kacha Devayani. Apart from women roles as a Kathakali artiste, Parukutty has portrayed male roles as well.
She was also a recipient of the Kerala Kalamandalam award, the Mathrubhumi Grihalakshmi award and several other awards.
According to keralatourism.org, in 2003, she started a dance school at Sankaramangalam, which she named as Kerala Natya Dhara. She used to spend six hours tutoring her students every day at her dance school. At present, nearly 350 students are being trained in various performing arts at the school.
Parukutty Amma is survived by daughter Kalamandalam Dhanya.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday condoled the death of Parukutty Amma and said that she was an active female presence in Kathakali for over half-a-century. â€śBeing an active female personality in the Kathakali art form, she also excelled in the male roles that she performed. I take part in this grief along with her family members,â€ť said the Kerala CM.