Popular Malayalam theatre director Prasanth Narayanan, who was unwell for a while, passed away in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, December 28, at a state-run hospital. He was 51 years old and admitted to the hospital for breathing problems. Having scripted over 30 plays, he was most known for his work Chayamukhi, in which senior film actors Mohanlal and Mukesh played the main characters.
Prasanth Narayanan was a multi-faceted personality who was not only a playwright, but also a Kathakali artiste and a director. Hailing from the capital city's suburbs, the picturesque Vellayani, he began his artistic career in Kathakali under CG Nampoothiri. As a teenager, he penned his first work and had no reason to look back. In a career spanning three decades, he won the Sangeetha Nataka Academy award for the best playwright in 2003.
Among the 30 plays he wrote, some of the most popular ones were Thoppikkaran, Balloonukal, Manikarnika and Chitralekha. After Chayamukhi, he had another play derived from the Ramayana called Makaradhwajan. Plays he directed include Shakespeare's Hamlet, Tagore's Post Office, Swapna Vasavadattam and Mahasagaram, based on MT Vasudevan Nair's works
His play Chayamukhi had become popular in the early 2000s with its star cast. Mohanlal played the role of Bhima and Mukesh, the role of Keechakan in the play, telling a sequence in the Mahabharata. It was staged in six venues, including Bengaluru. Mukesh, in a writeup about the playwright, said that Prasanth had brilliantly captured the bit in Mahabharata in two hours, not only writing and directing the play but also writing the songs and giving music to them. Mohanlal also paid his condolences, saying he was fortunate to work with the unique playwright and adding that Prasanth had left many unfulfilled theatre dreams behind.
A year ago, he had alleged plagiarism of Chayamukhi, filing a copyright infringement suit against dancer Gopika Varma.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Prasanth’s contribution towards the revival of theatre arts was invaluable.
Prasanth's body was placed at the cultural centre, Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan, where his dramas were once staged, for the public to pay homage on the morning of Friday, December 29. He will later be taken to his house in Kaladi and cremated at Shantikavadam by 3.30 pm.