The International Centre for Kathkalai, New Delhi (ICK)is a registered volountary cultural organization devoted to the promotion , propogation, teaching and performance of ”Kathakali” the traditional classical temple art form of Kerala in India and abroad. ICK was inaugurated by Dr. Rajendra Prasad , the first President of India in the year 1960.
Along with the Kathakali Centre a Kathakali school was also established for teaching Kathakali and allied art forms in the traditional style. The Kathakali centre and the school both were guided by eminent Gurus like Late Guru Mampuzha Madhava Panicker, Late Guru Keeshpadam Kumaran Nair and Guru Sadanam Balakrishnan. Today ICK has a group of eminent Artists -cum Teachers who have bound themselves to meet highest artistic standards.
ICK is regularly imparting training in Kathakali and other allied arts to large number of students including Non – Keralites and foreign students. About 200 students are undergoing training in different fields of Kathakali Vesham, vocal music , percussion instruments , Chutty make up and constumes.
The International Centre for Kathakali , New Delhi is the only one institution having full-fledged Kathakali training and performing facilities outside Kerala.
ICK has been organising various Kathakali festivals and programmes with traditional mythological stories from Mahabharatha, Ramayana and Srimad Bhagavadgita,
The troupe has performed extensively in more than 200 cities over the world and has participated in famous festivals nationally and internationally.
International Centre for Kathakali, New Delhi plays a vital role in promoting the Traditional Culture of Kerala through its own proud – Kathakali. This Institution makes us also proud and gives pleasure that this Art is being learnt by many people from other parts of the country as well as from foreign countries.
I am glad to learn that almost 300 students are learning Kathakali/Chenda/Chutti/Music etc. as
extracurricular activities apart from their academic courses. We should also appreciate their effort in doing this.
We should appreciate the founders and the early office bearers of this Institution for their hard work, dedication and sincerety in contributing to make this establishment a really worth for our culture.
It is also pertinent to mention that the Staff of this Institution, even from the beginning itself, is worth
appreciating. Their selfless hard work and attitude brought this to the highest level of popularity.
There are still long run to go for which we all need to keep our effort in full swing and try to have a full-fledged establishment with good infrastructure and financial support.
I urge all the Art lovers to extend your fullest support as has been received in the past.
P J Kurien
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am honored and privileged to assume the role of President of International Centre for Kathakali. I am deeply grateful to my predecessors for their leadership and outstanding contributions to ICK in the past and also the members of Executive Committee. I am inspired by their commitment to ICK and all of their achievements. Indeed, the growth of ICK has been propelled collectively by the individuals and all the past members of the Executive Committee.
On this occasion, I am happy to share our collective efforts, ICK becomes very dedicated to its cause as is evident from growth of students whose brilliant performances with the able guidance of our experienced Gurus and other Artists with their sincere cooperation and support.
On behalf of all of us, I am most confident and pleased to state that over the years with dedication, integrity and professionalism, ICK continues to make outstanding contributions in the field of ‘Kathakali’ and other forms of arts such as percussions and chutti.
It is needless to add that ICK, during its 58 long years of existence, has long list of achievements pan India and in many foreign countries and continues to grow in all arts / plays, in particular, Kathakali. ICK has created strong outreach among Kathakali lovers and patrons through its different programs and brought togetherness of the best minds.
Dear friends and colleagues, let us reflect on our shared responsibilities to our cause at the grassroot level and together let us fulfil our dream of making ICK the world’s best Organisation in this field.
With best wishes
It is indeed a matter of great pleasure for me to be a part of the Management Team of International Centre for Kathakali where we get an opportunity to promote and show the traditional art of Kerala to the local public of Delhi and populace of other parts of India and abroad.
With the support of Ministry of Culture by way of Grant and the Staff members of ICK we have been able to overcome several milestones and keep up the spirit of traditional arts. It is the combined effort of our sincere and dedicated staff members whose contributions in their respective areas are remarkable. Of course, it is the wreck less support and the cooperation of the parents of Students of ICK wherein they feel that this Art should have a way forward through their children.
I urge from all the parents and the staff to extend the same support and cooperation be received in future also. I will always be with you for any help.
We look forward to your valuable suggestions and feedback which will strengthen us to take it through right path.
With Best Wishes and Regards
Shree Gurubhyo Namah
The International Centre for Kathakali (ICK) was established in 1960 to popularize Kathakali, the rich art form of Kerala in the National Capital, Delhi. Ever since its inception, the Institution endeavored to maintain the art form’s purity and classical status to its full merit and spirit. It was the nostalgia & enthusiasm of art loving Keralites that helped create such an organization dedicated to the propagation of this great art form.
Mr. Sivasankara Menon was the founder Secretary of ICK and he continued till his untimely demise in 1977. He was the Marketing Manager in Philips India Ltd. Sardar K M Panicker, Member of Indian Constitutional Assembly & a renowned Diplomat was the first President of ICK. Famous dancer, Guru Gopinath was the first Principal for a short duration of time, and after him, Guru Mampuzha Madhava Panicker took over as the Principal till 1971. After his retirement, Mr. V P Ramakrishnan Nair became in charge. Mrs. K R K Menon, Mr. T M B Nedungadi, Justice V R Krishna Iyer, Mr. M M Jacob, Mr. V P Ramachandran, Mr. M A Vellody, Mr. C Balakrishnan, Justice Balakrishna Erady, Mr. Sanal Edamarku, Mr. Ramanadas & Mr. Madhavan Nair have been Presidents of the Kathakali Centre at various times.
In between, due to various reasons, the Kathakali Centre was not functional for a period of two years. The Centre re-opened on 12th January 1974 with the complete help and support of the Delhi Malayalee Association. I was given the charge of Artistic Director of the ICK, along with the assistance of six other Gurus & Artists – Kalamandalm Unnikrishnan, Kalamandalam Karunakaran, Kalamandalam Ravi Varier, Sadanam Rajagopalan, Sadanam Muruga Jyothi & Kalmandalam Kunhi Krishnan.
The Kathakali Centre reopened in the middle of so many problems. There were newspaper write-ups against the Centre, opposition from the artist community & the financial condition was also grave. Further, Court notices were issued to vacate both the premises – 1/84, Old Rajinder Nagar, from where the ICK operated and 54/9, Rajinder Nagar Market which was used for residential purposes of the artists and staff.
No one can really understand the situation and problems faced by ICK when it re-started.
At the same time some of the previous Governing Council Members and few artists who had resigned from the Centre earlier started a new Kathakali school giving immense opposition to ICK. All the financial support from the Government – Delhi Administration, Central Sangeet Natak Academi & even from private sector were stopped because of their influence.
With the sincere, dedicated and combined efforts of the then Governing Council Members and Artists, the Kathakali Centre somehow managed to overcome all these problems and received full support from the art loving general public, senior artists of various classical art forms and achieved category one status from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, within few years.
Guru Padmasree Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair Asan’s contribution was also remarkable. In September 1975 he visited Delhi to participate in the annual festival of the Kathakali School which was started against ICK. After completion of the three-day festival, some of the Governing Council Members of ICK met him & requested his services for the Centre. After much compulsion, he agreed to stay in Delhi only to present a new production – ‘Pazhassiraja’ , though he continued thereafter as the Principal of ICK for the next 5 years, till 1980. His creative and artistic genius, moral and spiritual approach brought about a complete transformation to the International Centre for Kathakali.
To revive, restore and popularize the Kathakali Centre, the contribution of these eminent personalities, such as Mr. N Sivasankara Menon, Mr. K A Nair, Mr. R C Poduval, Mr. M A Vellody, Mr. T V Kunhikrishnan, Mr. K V Kunhikrishnan, Dr. O M Anujan and Dr. Akavoor Narayanan are remarkable and ever memorable.
Now the International Centre for Kathakali is functioning in its own building and is one of the major cultural organizations and is recognized as category one institution by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and is also empaneled by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) as an outstanding category institution. Today, the Central Sangeet Natak Academi, Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad, Centre for Cultural resources & Training (CCRT) also recognize the ICK as a major cultural organization having achieved world-wide recognition.
From the beginning onwards conducting Kathakali classes was the main objective of the Kathakali Centre. Well trained teachers from recognized institutions are given responsibility to conduct for Acting-Dancing (Vesham), Vocal, Percussion (Chenda, Maddalam, Edakka) & Chutti (make up) & Costumes. Students from India, as well as, from all over the world attend the Kathakali School classes. High standard of teaching and curriculum have received ample recognition and thousands of students have benefitted from the exceptional quality of education & training and well organized classes by the Kathakali Centre.
Arranging high standard Kathakali performances has been another major activity of the Kathakali Centre. There is an ever-ready troupe of exceptional artists available to perform even on very short notices which conducts 80-100 performances every year in India and abroad. The standard of performances are well appreciated by the public and acclaimed by the connoisseurs and the media. To date, the ICK has participated in many Indian and International Festivals in various cities world over. Names of the Festivals ------------------------------------------------------.
Almost every year, ICK presents two experimental productions with varying themes and subjects, like :
1. Indian epics & puranas
2. Famous poems of great poets in different languages
3. Western themes : Greek tragedies, Shakespeare, French stories & other stories from other foreign languages
4. Biblical stories – Mary of Magdalene, David & Goliath
5. Historical stories – Rani Jhansi
It is to the credit of choreography and performance that many of these new productions have been so well received and have been repeatedly performed on request many times, including, Karna Shapatham, Othello, Le’ Cid, Neelamaneeyam, Bheeshmanutapam etc.
The ICK also organizes Lecture Demonstrations, Workshops, Seminars and Symposiums to create awareness and knowledge about the technical nuances of this highly stylized art form-Kathakali. For the Seminars and Symposiums, scholars and academicians were invited to speak, and the high standard of these programs are indeed proud moments for the ICK.
The Kathakali Centre was also publishing an attractive magazine with good articles by eminent writers and beautiful photographs regularly, which was brought out quarterly for a period of six years. This was dis-continued due to want of funds.
The International Centre for Kathakali through these years of history, with so many ups and downs, is progressing steadily forward without altering its high and noble aim of protecting, propagating and modernizing (while retaining its character) this rich cultural art form, with sincere and tireless efforts, and is attaining new heights year after year - thus assuring a future that is bright and glorious.