Born in 1925 in Thirunarayana- puram, Kerala, Shri Kalamanda- lam Padmanabhan Nair is the son and disciple of the great Kathakali master Pattikkam- thodi Ravunni Menon. He was initiated in the art by his father at Kerala Kalamandalaro, and for a few years also attended the P.S.V. Natyasangham, Kottakkal. He joined Kerala Kalamanda- lam in 1951 and retired as Principal of the institution in 1989. Shri Padmanabhan Nair has made a distinct contribution to Kathakali as a teacher and performer. The foremost repre- sentative of the Kalluvazhi school of northern Kerala, he is particularly known for his mastery of the grammar and technique of the art. A highly respected guru, he has trained a number of Kathakali actors including Kalamandalam Gopi, his first disciple. Shri Padmanabhan Nair has enacted all the major Pacha and Kathi roles in Kathakali, excelling in those which are technically the most demanding. As a member of the Kalamandalam troupe he has performed allover the world. He has also written textbooks on Kathakali Vesham and performance manuals — Attaprakarams — for sixteen plays. Among other honours, he received the first Kerala Kala- mandalam Award in 1979 and the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award in 1992. Shri Kalamandalam Padma- nabhan Nair receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Kathakali.