Kathakali artiste Mathoor Govindankutty, 81, passed away on Thursday. The Kathakali maestro had over a six-decade-long career in which he became famous for the female characters he portrayed. He was under treatment at the government medical college hospital for Covid-19. The body was cremated with state honors at the premises of the residence of his younger son Muralikrishnan in Kudamaloor.
Late Rajeswari, the daughter of famous Kathakali artiste Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair, was his wife. He had relocated to Kudamaloor after marriage and remained here till the end. Mathoor was born in 1940 in Nedumudi village in Kerala. He took his initial training in Kathakali from Nedumudi Kuttappa Panicker and afterward studied the traditional theatre art under Kurichi Kunjan Panicker at the Mathoor kalari. He specialized in portraying women characters under Kudamaloor Kurunakaran Nair.
Among the leading exponents of the Gurukulam, Mathoor won wide respect as a teacher and has trained a number of Kathakali performers at the Kudamaloor Kalakendra. He has performed widely in India and abroad. Some of his renowned performances include those at the opening ceremony of Asiad in 1982 and at Kathakali Mahotsav organized by Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1993.
He has performed in European countries and is the winner of many awards and accolades. His final performance was in Kollam two weeks back. The characters which he represented that turned famous are that of Kunthi of Karnasapatham, Damayanthi of Nalacharitham, and Panchali of Duryodhana Vadham.