KOZHIKODE: Those line sketches were so powerful that they reflected the hurt feelings and pain of Bheema in ‘Randamoozham’, the masterpiece of M T Vasudevan Nair. As writer VKN rightly said he was the Paramasivan (Lord Siva) of line sketches.
K M Vasudevan Namboothiri, popularly known as Artist Namboothiri, whose iconic illustrations gave life to many mythical characters in Malayalam literature passed away at Kottakkal in Malappuram district in the wee hours of Friday.
The 97-year-old artist who inspired a golden era of painting and sculpture in Kerala through his unique three-dimensional sketches was undergoing treatment for age-related ailments at a private hospital in Kottakkal where he breathed his last at 12.21 am on Friday.
Born to Parameswaran Namboothiri and Sridevi Antharjanam of Karuvattu Illam in Ponnani on September 13, 1925, Artist Namboothiri, started drawing line sketches of characters he met around his village using charcoal pieces on the walls of his house at a very young age. Namboothiri had lessons in Sanskrit and traditional Ayurveda medicine during his childhood.
It was famous artist Varikkasseri Krishnan Namboothiri who took him to Madras College of Fine Arts where he was groomed by legends like KCS Panikker. Namboothiri had the opportunity to bring to life the epic characters of legendary writers like M T Vasudevan Nair and V K Narayanankutty Nair (VKN).
MT Vasudevan Nair had once said that it was Namboothiri's Bheema that readers saw in Randamoozham as his line sketches were distinctive. VKN had called him the 'paramasivan of drawings'.
Namboothiri's line sketches were so powerful that they brought to life the simplicity of Kerala's rustic life. As a sculptor, he worked on multiple media like wood, metal, stone, cement and clay. His drawings gave life to many characters in stories and novels that were serialized by literary magazines like Samakalika Malayalam, Kala Kaumudi and Mathrubhumi.
He had won much appreciation for the illustrations based on Sankaracharya's Soundarya Lahari drawn at the request of actor Mohanlal. Namboothiri had worked as the art director for director Aravindan's movies like Utharayanam and Kanchana Seetha.
He had received many honours like Kerala Lalita Kala Akademi's Raja Ravi Varma Award and the State Institute of Children's Literature award. He is survived by his wife Mrinalini and sons Parameswaran and Vasudevan.
A disciple of Paniker
During his early days, Namboothiri assisted K C S Paniker to complete an oversize painting for the Railways.
He proved his skill in copper relief work in which he created a series based on various events from Mahabharata and Parayi Petta Panthirukulam. He also created a few large sculptures for Cholamandal.
Namboothiri had served as the chairman of Kerala Lalitakala Academy twice. He had won much appreciation for the illustrations based on Sankaracharya’s Soundarya Lahari drawn at the request of actor Mohanlal.
Namboothiri also worked as an art director for films like ‘Uttarayanam’ and ‘Kanchana Seetha’, directed by G Aravindan, which won him the Kerala State Award for the best art director. He had received many honours like Kerala Lalita Kala Akademi’s Raja Ravi Varma Award. He is survived by wife Mrinalini and sons Parameswaran and Vasudevan.