An artist incomparable; Mr. Sivan Namboodiri stands out as the remarkable exemplary of dedication, relentless determination and an all-encompassing love of the art. Born in 1950 as the son of Late. Sri Ammankotu Manakkal Madhavan Namboodiri and Devaki Antharjanam, he found himself attracted to the dance-drama of Kathakali at the age of 14. Years later, armed with a domineering passion to learn Kathakali under the leading maestros, he ventured to do a course in the art form in Kalamandalam.
As luck would have it, life took a sudden turn when he was granted the opportunity to learn Koodiyattom under the distinguished guidance of Late. Paimkulam Rama Chakyar, the eminent thespian of the art form. The well-known art connoisseurs of the time, Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair (Kathakali), Paimkulam Ramachakyar (Koodiyattom) and Kalamandalam Krishnankutty Poduval (Chenda) had ultimately found in the young man what they had been looking for – ‘a promising artiste of Koodiyattom.’
Mr. Sivan Namboodiri enrolled himself at the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1965 for the six -year course as one of the two students of the first batch of Koodiyattom. Mr. Sivan Namboodiri is also credited for being the first person outside the Chakyar community to learn the art form of Koodiyattom, the ancient Sanskrit theatre of Kerala. Being a strict non-conformist by nature like his mentor Paimkulam Rama Chakyar, he sailed into the artistic arena with a fervent vigour, endeavouring to learn this ancient theatre form that was hitherto performed only by the members of the Chakyar community.
After completing his six-year Diploma Course, he went on to do Post-Graduate Diploma course in Koodiyattom for two years followed by an advanced course under the scholarship of the Department of Culture, New Delhi. It took him long ten years of intense training and perseverance to become a well-acknowledged, master practitioner of the art form.
Mr. Sivan Namboodiri has also made his glorious presence felt in the stage of Nangiarkoothu; the two thousand year old art form till then dominated by the Nangiars or the women folk of the Nambiar community. In addition to being the first - ever male performer of Nangiarkoothu, he is also recognized for introducing certain innovations regarding the use of costumes and musical instruments in this age-old art form.
In 1975, he joined the Kerala Kalamandalam in the Faculty of Koodiyattam
as instructor. Mr. Sivan Namboodiri is the senior most teacher and performer
in the Department of Koodiyattom, Kalamandalam. He is also working as the
visiting professor at the School of Drama (University of Calicut) since 1980.