Sadanandan, Malayalam storyteller par-excellence, dies

April 13th, 2008 - 11:48 pm ICT by admin  

Paravoor (Kerala), April 13 (IANS) Malayalam raconteur par-excellence Kedamangalam Sadanandan passed away here Sunday at the age of 84, family sources said. Sadanandan sent audience into raptures as he seamlessly merged into characters as diverse as Shakespeare’s “Othello” and the lovelorn “Ramanan” (the immortal creation of his mentor and poet Changampuzha Krishna Pillai) during his 64-year-long career. He let out his last shallow breath when his lungs succumbed to cancer that had afflicted him for sometime.

Sadanandan lived in a modest residence nestled between brackish backwaters, a Shiva temple, a disused synagogue and three Protestant churches in this picturesque, quiet, green growing town once known as Parur, 17 km from the bustling commercial capital of Kerala - Kochi.

The art form rendered famous by Sadanandan and his late contemporary Sambasivan is called ‘Kathaprasangam’ or story-telling. It is a kind of solo performance on stage wherein the narrator, without make-up, to some accompaniment of music dramatises a story.

Its earthy narration is interspersed with dialogue punctuated by wit and emotion.

A veteran of over sell-out 15,000 shows, Sadanandan introduced classic medieval works of Shelley and Victor Hugo to Malayalam audiences.

Sadanandan’s portrayal of “Ramanan” (said to be based on the life of his mentor Pillai’s childhood friend Raghavan) was so powerful that audience came back for more even after 3,500 shows. The book by Pillai is said to have sold over 100,000 copies till now since it hit the stands in the ’40s - some of it due to the storyteller’s spirited performances.

Sadanandan is survived by his wife, a daughter and son. His funeral will be held Monday.

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