Mr.Venu G: A devoted and gifted artist, Gopal Venu was born on 1st July 1945. His initiation to Kathakali at a very young age of 13 and was followed by training in Kutiyattam. Mr. Venu was fortunate enough to learn Kutiyattam under the watchful eyes of maestros like Mr. Ammanur Madhava Chakiar and Mr. Ammanur Parameshwara Chakiar.
Mr. Venu grew up as an artiste and soon realized that his role cut out for more than mere performance of the art forms that he has mastered. He forayed into other performing art forms of Kerala, besides the classical ones like Kathakali, Kutiyattam and Mohiniyattam. Soon Mr. Venu realized that some of the performing art forms were on the verge of decline, and the thought of losing them forever ignited a passion, which prompted him to take timely efforts for the resurrection and popularity of many less known performing art forms of Kerala.
Mr. Venu was instrumental in reviving some of the performing art forms that included puppetry, dance and theatre. Once admired by many, some of the performing art forms of Kerala have become totally strange to the present generation. And Mr. Venu's determination to revive them took him to places and to few of the remaining artistes who could authoritatively share their wealth of knowledge on some of the vanishing art forms like Tholpavakoothu (shadow puppetry), Pavakathakali (Glove Puppet Play) Kakarissi Natakam (a rustic folk theatre), Mudiyettu (ritualistic dance drama), Kummattikali (folk dance, Padayani (religious ritualistic dance) etc.
Mr. Venu is credited not only as a key person in reviving some of the vanishing performing art forms of Kerala, but also as a key personality in training youngsters in these art forms and giving them adequate exposure and thereby a means of living.
An incident that brings out the true zeal of Mr. Venu would convince others about his commitment to traditional performing art forms of Kerala. When he was appointed one of the honorary directors of the Sweden-based World Theatre Project, Mr. Venu took it as a great opportunity for international exposure to art forms of Kerala. But to his utter dismay, it was found that the famous India poet Kalidasa's, Abhijnana Sakunthalam was translated and had become subjects for performance in many Indian performing art forms, but none of his works were attempted through Kutiyattam, the oldest Sanskrit
classical theatre from Kerala. He soon rectified this massive void once he took over the reigns of Natanakairali, a center for classical arts under the Ammanur Chakyar Madhom at Irinjalakuda in Thrissur District. It was a challenging task, and Mr. Venu garnered support and guidance from masters of Kutiyattam, friends and well-wishers and finally choreographed Kalidasa's epic Abhijnana Sakunthalam. The performance eventually was well received by aficionados of Kutiyattam.
Mr. Venu is noted for some published works like the Alphabet of Gestures in Kathakali (1968), Puppetry and Lesser Known Dance Traditions of Kerala (1990), Kathakalimudra Nighantu (1994), The Language of Kathakali (2000), Into the World of Kutiyattam with the Legendary Ammanur Madhava Chakyar (2002) etc.
As an avid performer as well as a campaigner of Kerala's performing art forms, Mr. Venu had visited countries around the globe as part of performance, study and lecture-cum-demonstration. In Europe he had been to countries like France, Switzerland, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Germany, England, Poland, Spain and in Asia to Singapore, japan, China, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Malaysia. He has also been to the former Soviet Union and Mozambique.
Some of Mr. Venu's honours and research fellowships include the Kerala Sahitya Academy award (1977), Homi Babha Fellowship (1985), Goethe Institute Scholarship (1989), and Senior Fellowship, Department of Culture, Government of India (1982).
His initiatives to give maximum exposure to some of the performing art forms, took him to international venues as in the case of his presentation of Tolpava Koothu at the International Festival of Asian Countries' Puppet Theatres at Tashkent in 1979. Likewise in 1984, the staging of Pavakathakali at the eleventh International Puppet Theatre festival in Poland and also in 1986 at the second Asian UNIMAS Regional Meeting in Japan.
Keralites have proved their deligence and extra ordinary brillience through out the world. Keralites are well known for their honesty and efficiency in all fields. In the list of Prominent Personalities we have tried to include all famous personalities from Kerala. We are trying to collect the details of the rest. If you have the details of any such personalities, please send to us.