View in Malayalam | Login »

Malayalam Movies and Songs

Ambalappuzha Brothers

CareerSinging (1 songs from 1 Movies)
First MovieFootball Champion (1973)

Ambalappuzha brothers include three talented brothers – K. Sankaranarayana Panicker, K. Gopalakrishna Panicker and K. Ramakrishna Panicker – virtuoso nagaswaram players and patrons of art who inspired and mentored a generation of artistes in Kerala.

While Sankaranarayana Panicker and K. Gopalakrishna Panicker elevated the nagaswaram to new heights, the youngest was a maverick and a natural. A dancer, musician and Kathakali artiste, he is also believed to be the first choreographer of Malayalam cinema. “He personified versatility; who we call a ‘sarvakalavallabhan,'” says thespian Nedumudi Venu. “I have heard him play the flute and the mridangam with equal felicity. No matter what he did, he excelled in that, be it as a dancer, Kathakali artiste or musician,” recalls Venu.

Of them, Eamakrishna Panicker (Ravunni/ Ramunni) appeared in three movies. In a scenefrom ‘Jeevithanouka' a little dancing girl is accompanied by a man playing an udduku. That was Ramunni. He had choreographed the dance and also acted in that scene. Many years later, it was Ramunni who acted in Aravindan's 'Kummatti'.

The brothers exposed a generation of youngsters to the aesthetics of the classical art forms.

Thottakkadu Veedu, their house, was a second home for artistes and rasikas…. They brought the best of musicians and Kathakali artistes to Ambalapuzha and revived it as a centre of excellence in culture. GNB, Semmangudi, Chembai, Alathur brothers, MDR… all of them performed in Alappuzha. Moreover, they gave the nagaswaram, till then considered an instrument with a strong Tamil Nadu connection, a Malayali cadence by mastering it and performing it all over Kerala.

The brothers had also run a Kathakali school called Chembakassery Nadana Kala Kendram and structured several Kathakali padams.

According to Venu, the brothers, especially the two older ones, conceptualised and worked out the details of concerts comprising Kathakali padams only, as opposed to the padams that are sung during a play which are meant to narrate the story, which have to be sung differently.

Honoured with several prestigious awards during their lifetime, the brothers' legacy had all but faded into oblivion, when film director TK Rajeevkumar, with the help of V. Gopakumar, V. Balachandran and V. Venugopal, grandsons of Gopalakrishna Panicker, and thavil artiste Karuna Moorthy, decided to revive the cultural contributions of the brothers' by creating a website on their legacy by collecting their records, photographs and memorabilia.

Ramakrishna Panicker, the youngest of the three brothers, was a Kunjunni Master-like figure for children in the vicinity. An excellent storyteller, he would invariably be surrounded by children.TK Rajeev is also related to the Ambalapuzha Brothers.

The brothers were visionaries who also did their bit for the welfare of artistes by raising the issue of accompanying artistes in the legislature.
Although all their children were naturally talented singers and aficionados of the fine arts, none of them became performing artistes. Gradually the brothers' work was confined to the memories of a generation who had known and interacted with the trio.

They have performed nagaswaram compositions of Tyagaraja, GNB and Thanjavoor Ponnayyapilla) in ragas Sudha Dhanyasi, Kanada and Neelambari.

The Brothers’ pioneering efforts have helped Ambalapuzha earn a prestigious name in the field of music. Thottakkadu veedu was an abode of performers and students of music alike, and reverberated with musical notes. The grateful people of Ambalapuzha named the ‘Pandrandu Kalabham’ as Sankaranarayana Kalolsavam, in memory of the artists. There is a two-day Sankaranarayana Sangeetholsavam to promote young talent during 11th and 12th day of Kalotsavam.

Awards & Honors

• Keerthanalagara Bhooshithar by Maharajah of Mysore
• Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award
• Kalaratnam by Travancore Devaswom Board


Prepared by: Dr. Susie Pazhavarical


19731 -