Mani Damodara Chakyar On
Mani Damodara Chakyar (Māni Dāmodara Chākyār ) (b. 1946) is a renowned Kutiyattam and Chakyar Koothu artist in Kerala state of south India. He is a nephew and disciple of legendary Guru Nātyāchārya Vidūshakaratnam Padma Shri Māni Mādhava Chākyār. He belongs to the great Mani Chakyar tradition of Koodiyattam and Chakyar koothu.
He studied Chakyar Koothu and Koodiyattam in traditional way for more than 30 years under the direct guidance of Guru Māni Mādhava Chākyār. He has studied Sanskrit and Nātyasāstra in traditional way. He holds a Master's degree in Sanskrit Literature as well. He used to be High School Sanskrit teacher at Kozhikkode.
First ever Koodiyattam performance outside Kerala - Madras 1962.
He was a member of Legendary Guru Padma Shri Māni Mādhava Chākyār's Koodiyattam troop which performed Koodiyattam outside Kerala for the first time. In that performance (1962, Madras)- Thoranayudham Koodiyattam, he played the role of Vibhishana with his Guru- Mani Madhava Chakyar (as Ravana). He is an exponent of traditional devotional Koothus and Koodiyattams, such as Anguliyanka, Mattavilasa Prahasana, Mantranka, Ezhamanka (seventh act of Ascharyachoodamani).
Mani Damodara Chakyar as Kapali in MattavilasamKutiyattam
He is performing the huge number of Atiyantara koothus of Mani family (the koothus which are assigned to the family from ancient times) consisting of all these devotional ritualistic Koothus and Koodiyattams in various famous temples of Kerala for decades. It includes various famous temples of Kerala like Karivellur Shiva Temple of Kannur district; Matayikkavu Bhagavathi Temple, Taliparamba Rajarajeshwara Temple, Kottiyoor Perumal Temple, Kanjirangad Shiva Temple, Thiruvangad Sree Ramaswami Temple of Thalassery and Cherukunnu Chiraykkal Bhagavathi Temple of Kannur district; Lokanarkavu Templeof Vatakara, Thali (Tali) Siva Temple, Sreethiruvilayanadukavu Bhagavathi Temple and Thiruvachhira Sree Krishna temple of Kozhikkode district; Thirunavaya Navamukunda temple, Thrikkandiyur Shiva temple, Methrikkovil Siva temple, Pandamangalam Krishna temple of Kottakkal and Kotakkal Vishwambhara (Shiva) temple of Malappuram district; Panamanna Shankaranarayana temple, Kallekkulagara Emoor Siva temple, Thiruvegappura Siva temple and Killikkurussi Mahadeva Temple of Palakkad district and Triprayar Sri Rama temple and Peruvanam Shiva temple of Cherpu of Thrissur temple.
Mani Damodara Chakyar as Nayaka- hero, (King Udayana) in Swapnavasavadattam Koodiyattam.
He was a member of Guru Māni Mādhava Chākyār's troop which performed different Koodiyattams in places outside Kerala such as New Delhi, Banaras, Mumbai, Ujjain, Bhopal and Madras. He had the good fortune to perform in many important Conferences and Seminars such as World Sanskrit Conferences at Banaras, Bangalore and Thrissur.
He has performed Koodiyattam all over India with the great guru Māni Mādhava Chākyār. He has performed both as Nayaka- hero and Vidushaka- court jester in Kudiyattams such as Swapnavasavadattam, Naganandam, Subhadradhananjayam etc. When the great Guru Nātyāchārya Māni Mādhava Chākyār choreographed and directed Kalidasa's Mālavikāgnimitra and Vikramorvaśīya for the first time in the history of Kudiyattam, it was Mani Damodara Chakyar to whom he gave the role of Nayaka. Mani Damodara Chakyar staged Malavikagnimitram and Vikramorvasheeyam at Kalidasa Academy, Ujjain under the guidance of his Guru.
He was the first Koodiyattam student who received scholarship from MHRD New Delhi. Later, both junior and senior fellowships where also awarded to him by the same department. He is the recipient of many prizes from different temples and cultural organisations. Kerala Sangeet Natak Academy honored him with Award for his contributoins to Chakyar Koothu and Koodiyattam (2000). He has received the Kerala Kalamandalam V S Sharma endowment Award for the year 2007.
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