P. Govindan Kutty

Born -    1940, Kerala Died – 2007 Kolkata.

Kathakali artiste par excellence and a greater human being Guru Govindan Kutty was the personality who was one of the pioneers of bringing Kathakali out of the state and introducing it to the world especially to the Eastern India.  Popularly known as “Guruji” he dedicated himself to teaching the art of Kathakali and wrote and published several articles and also A syllabus for Kathakali course without losing its traditional style and purity to suit non-Keralites.

A linguist with a grasp on six Languages , he wrote a book on Kathakali–“Kathakali Nrityer Rooprekha” in Bengali. And ”Kathakali the Dance theatre” in English published by the historic ‘Asiatic Society of Calcutta .A visiting professor of Kathakali at Theater Dept. Of J.L. University, Giessen, Germany, Tribhuvan University, Nepal, He was also in the board of several central and state cultural  bodies

Govt. of West Bengal has produced a documentary  film titled “Miles to go before I sleep” on his life and activities.

During his long illustrious career he has been a member of several important state and national institutions of India.


                                       GURU GOVINDAN KUTTY

                                         (Chronology of Events)


Date of birth  :  13/11/1927 in Palghat district of Kerala.     Left us on 05/01/2007

1940    :  Admitted to Kerala Kalamandalam for learning Kathakali Dance.

1949    :  Obtained Diploma and extensive course for Kathakali Dance from Kerala Kalamandalam.

1949 October to February, 1955 :  worked as a Kathakali Dancer & Teacher with troupe of Smt. Mrinalini Sarabhai at  Ahmedabad and participated in lead

           roles, performing in almost all important  cities in India, Ceylon, Egypt, Lebanon, Countries of Europe (number of times), whole of South America, the 

           Carribean Islands, Mexico and U.S.A.

 1955    :   In the month of July, reached Calcutta and joined as Principal of “Nritya Kairalee” an institute for the South Indian classical dances run by Calcutta

               Malayalee Samajam.

1958 :  “External examiner, Paper setter and Selection Committee Member of Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, in Kathakali Dance…… contd.

1958 :  Marriage with Kalamandalam Thankamani.

1962    :  Joined Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta as a “Lecturer in Kathakali Dance”.

1965    :  Wrote and published several articles in the subject and also “A syllabus for Kathakali course without losing its traditional style and purity to suit


 1968    :  As “Founder Principal” started “Kalamandalam Calcutta”, an institute for Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam & Kathakali along with wife Thankamani


 1976    :  Founder Secretary of the “Calcutta Kathakali Club”, and from 1983 it is continuing as “Kathakali Art Centre”, Calcutta

 1982    :  Became “Reader” at the Rabindra Bharati University.

 1982    :  “Nominated Member” of “West Bengal State Music Academy”, Information and Cultural Affairs Deptt., Govt of West Bengal. ………contd..

 1982    :  A short tour to Imphal ,  Manipur with Leading a Kathakali Troupe, which also recorded an “Illustrated Talk on Kathakali” at and for All India Radio,


 1983    :  a month’s tour to Japan & Thailand with leading the dance troupe of Kalamandalam Calcutta. 

 1985  :  Two and a half month’s tour to the U. K., France & Germany with leading the troupe of Kalamandalam Calcutta.

 1987 : Two months tour to the U. K. with leading a Kathakali troupe.

 1987:   An “expert member” of the “Board of Studies of Rabindra Sangeet and Dance”, Visva  Bharati University, Santiniketan.

 1987:    Rabindra Sadan “Managing Committee Member”.

 1987 : Doordarshan Calcutta’s T.V.Grading Dance Audition “Judge for kathakali and Mohiniattam”.

 1989:  “President” of Kalamandalam Performing Arts & Research Centre, Calcutta. ….contd.

 1990:  A “Top graded artiste of Doordarshan” (Indian Television Network) have performed and frequently appeared in National Telecasts. Have also

             performed for B.B.C & German Television.

 1992  :  Wrote a book on Kathakali – “Kathakali Nrityer Rooprekha” in Bengali.

 1992   :  Retired from the Rabindra Bharati University.

 1992   :  “Nritya Visharad” title from Baitanik, Calcutta.

 1993:  “Shiromani Purashkar” from Asian paints.

 1994:  April to July, worked in Germany as “Guest Professor” to teach kathakali at the Theater Deptt. Of J. L. University, Giessen.

 1994  :  “Higher Degree for Ph.d. expert for dance” of Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta.                                                                                                     

1995 : Selection Committee Member” for Kathakali and Mohiniattam under the Scheme of Award Scholarships of the Ministry of H.R.D., Department of 

             Culture, Govt. of India, New Delhi.

 1995  :  Conducted ten days Kathakali Workshop and performed one Lecture-demonstration at Imphal, Manipur for  “The Chorus Repertoiry Theatre” of The

               Famous Dramatist Ratan Thiyam.

 1996:  April to July, again worked in Germany as “Guest Professor” at the Theatre Deptt. of J. L. University, Giessen.

 1995  :  Madhusudan Mancha “managing committee member” …. Contd

 1996  :  A documentary film titled “Miles to go before I sleep” produced by West  Bengal Government on life and activities.

 1996   :  Vice-President of “Federation of All India Malayalee Associations”, (“FAIMA”) at Chennai.

 1997:  Elected as “President” of West Bengal Dance Group Federation…….. contd.

 1997  :  Member : “Visva-Bharati “Music Board” ….. contd.

 1998:  April, visited as “External Dance Selection Committee Member” of Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal.

 1998  :  June/July, two months’ tour to U.S.A, Canada and Singapore for Lecture-Demonstration.

 1998  :  Doordarshan Prasar Bharati’s “Dance Audition Judge”.

 1998  :  As judge for “All India Civil Services Drama Tournament 1998-99” organised by Govt. of Tripura at Agartala.

 1999:  February, wrote a book “Kathakali – The Dance Theatre” published by The Asiatic society, Calcutta and released at the Book Fair Calcutta, 1999.

 1999  :  “Nava Ratna Samman” from Calcutta People’s Choir.

 2000  :  Elected as “Rector” of “Sarbo Bharatiya Sangeet O Sanskriti Parishad”.

2000:  Inaugurated the Cultural Programme and given a Lec-Dem on Kathakali at “Sreemanta Shankardev Sangha’s 69th Rangiya Adhivesan” near

            Guwahati, Assam.

 2000  :  In May, three weeks tour of Gulf countries with dance troupe.

 2000  : Visiting Resource Person for “2nd U.G.C. Refresher Course” in national Level at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan.  

 2000:  Felicitation from “Kaladarpanam Art Lovers Association” at Cochin, Kerala.

 2001:  As “Visiting Resource Person” for U.G.C. Refresher Course” at Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta

 2002:  “Visiting Resource Person” for “3rd U.G.C. Refresher Course” in National Level at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan.

 2003 : Felicitation from “Calcutta Festival” on its 19th Anniversary.

 2003: “Visiting Resource Person for U.G.C Refresher Course on “Performance as Text” at the English Department of Jadavpur University.

 2003:   April to June, performed in San Francisco, U.S.A. by the invitation of “EAST as CENTRE” of “Chitresh Das Dance Company”.

 2003 : “Kashi Swar – Ganga Samman” from “GRITMA” of Rajan – Sajan Mishra”.

 2004 : September – October, performed in Connecticut and Maryland of USA by the invitation of EAST as CENTER of Chitresh Das Dance Company.

 2004 : Visiting Resource Person for U.G.C., Refresher Course on delivered Lecture-demonstration “The Tradition & New Experiments in Kathakali”, and

           “Dance education at Universities”, held at Rabindra Bharati University.

 2005 : “Gyan Bani F.M.Radios” Broadcasted the talk on the Topic : “Kolkata ke Bhalobeshe”, recorded at Netaji Subhas Open University, Garcha Campus.

 2005 : Performed 7th time, the “One hour Solo presentation Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Meghnad Badh Kabya” in 7 multiple characters, at  Sisir Manch.

19/07/2005 : “On the completion of 50 years in Calcutta”, W.B. State Music Academy, jointly with W. B. Dance Group Federation felicitated, in a function at

                  Rabindra Sadan.

2005 : I & C. A. Department, Govt. of West Bengal, being Conferred “Uday Shankar Puraskar” for “Outstanding contribution in the field of Dance”, by Shri

             Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Honorable Chief Minister of West Bengal, held at Rabindra Sadan.

 2006 : “KALA PRATHIBHA PURASKARAM” from “Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy”.