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March 21, 2024

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Savitri ashtamoorthi: SEPTUGENARIANíS Kathakali PERFORMANCE AFTER 5 decadesí GAP

Savitri, Kozhissery Mana, Shornur, Palakkad

About 6 decades ago, when Namboothiri girls could not even venture into the frontyard of their illams, Savitri of Kozhissery Mana, Shornur was lucky enough to have progressive parents who encouraged her to learn Kathakali. 

So, the 8-year-old started learning the art from Kalamandalam Kuttan and Sadanam Krishnankutty.  By the time she was 19 years old, she had performed in about 280 stages and even won a medal from the Vice President of India.  At that time she was known as Desamangalam Savitri.

But marriage at the age of 19 put a pause in her Kathakali ventures.  And that pause lasted for more than 50 years. However, at the age of 72 when she decided to come out of artistic hibernation, she did not have to struggle much to find her form.  Within a week she could practice and perform the role of Damayanti in the first part of Nalacharitam. 

So, with the assistance of Kalanilayam Vasudevan, she performed at the festival of Bhagavati temple at Kuzhakkottukavu, Manjakkadu, Shornur recently.  At the end of the performance, it was a shower of appreciation for the septuagenarian.  Many gathered to take selfie with the artist.

She is quite willing to perform on more stages, if chances come her way.


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Mathrubhumi, January 23, 2024 

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"It always seems impossible until it is done."