Playwright Kavalam Narayana Panicker, who brought native idiom into Malayalam theatre, passed away at the age of 88. The Padma Bhushan-winning theatre doyen, a trailblazer at a time when proscenium theatre held the centre stage, has given to Malayalam literature and theatre such fine works as Avanavan Kadamba, Daivathar, Kaikkuttappad, Ottayaan, and many productions based on major Sanskrit works. He had worked closely with such stalwarts of theatre as C.N. Sreekantan Nair and G. Aravindan, bringing a new rhythm and grammar of acting to theatre.
He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 2007. He is survived by his wife Saradamani and son Kavalam Sreekumar. ‘Shakunthalalam’, ‘Karnabharam’ and ‘Vikramorvasheeyam’ were among Sanskrit dramas which he adapted and gave life on the stage. Hailing from scenic Kavalam in Alappuzha district, the veteran was the founder director of ‘Sopanam’,a theatre group.
Kavalam, who served as secretary of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy in the 1960s, was accorded with Padma Bhushan in the year 2007.