KOCHI: Kathakali percussionist, actor and playwright Kalamandalam Kesavan died Saturday after a brief illness at a private hospital here, family sources said. He was 73.
He is survived by his wife and four children.
Keshavan first trained with his uncle Neettiyath Govindan Nair who groomed him in percussion. He later trained in Kathakali 'melam' (percussion ensemble) with stalwarts like Moothamana Kesavan Namboodiri and Thiruvallwamala Venkinchan Swamy at Poomully Mana in Palakkad district.
The turning point in his life came when he enrolled in the famed art school at Kalamandalam and trained with Krishnankutty Poduval. While in Kalamandalam, he also turned a Kathakali playwright.
After working as a teacher at FACT school in Aluva for three decades, veteran film director Aravindan spotted the actor in him and offered a role in "Oridathu". The offer fell through when Keshavan met with an accident.
At the age of 65, Keshavan debuted in the film "Marattam". Since then he acted in a number of films including "The Car", "Don Bosco", "Nadan Pennum Nattupramaniyum", "Varavai", "Saivar Thirumeni" and "Oru Katha Pole".
He featured in many television serials too.
He was recipient of Kerala Kalamandalam Award, Kala Sahithya Academy Award, Ravunni Menon Memorial Award and N.K. Pisharadi Award among others.