Thrissur : Acclaimed Ottamthullal artiste Kalamandalam Geethanandan collapsed during a performance at Avittathoor Maha Shiva Temple near Iranjalakuda in Thrissur on Sunday.
He was administered first aid before being rushed to a nearby hospital but died soon after. He was 58.
Geethanandan, began Ottumthullal – a primary Hindu performance with its origins in Natya Shastra – at age of nine. He later joined Kalamandalam for formal learning of the dance form between 1974 -83 and went on to head the department next 25 years.
Geethanandan is credited with introducing “thullal pada kacheri” akin to “Kathakali pada kacheri” that pays tribute to the art’s founder Kunchan Nambiar.
In a first, Geethanandan also played out Ottamthullal or audience in France in 1984,
Regarded a supremo, most modern-day artistes have learned or practiced the art form under Geethanandan, including actress Kavya Madhavan who was mentored by him.
Geethanandan has also forayed into films with roles in more than 30 Malayalam movies, including Mohanalal starrer Kamaladalam.
The veteran artiste is survived by wife Shobana and children Sanalkumar and Sreelakhsmi.
Shobana is a film dance director and together with children is actively engaged in up keep of the legacy.