Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody is a leading Kathakali artiste known for his restrained portrayal of character roles in the classical dance-drama of Kerala in south India. A frontline disciple of Padma Shri Vazhenkada Kunchu Nair, he excels in virtuous pachcha, anti-hero Kathi and the semi-realistic minukku roles alike. Nalan, Bahukan, Arjunan, Bhiman, Dharmaputrar, Rugmangadan, Narakaasuran, Ravanan, Parashuraman and Brahmanan are his masterpieces.
Vasu Pisharody was born on August 15, 1943, at Kongad in Palakkad district. After schooling, he had his primary Kathakali lessons under Balakrishnan Nair at Kerala Kalalayam in Ottapalam. He subsequently joined PSV Natyasangham in Kottakkal, was a student there for 3 years, and later in Kerala Kalamandalam, where he undertook further studies for seven years—both under Kunchu Nair. Vasu Pisharody also had his higher studies under Padma Bhushan Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair and the late Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair.
After an initial brief stint at Kerala Kalamandalam, Vasu Pisharody worked at a kalari (Kathakali classroom) run by the Guruvayur Kathakali Club. He rejoined Kalamandalam in 1979 and worked there for two decades before retiring as its vice-principal in 1999.
Vasu Pisharody is a winner of the prestigious Central Sangeet Natak Akademi award.
Veerashrinkhala from Kongad. Awards from several Kathakali clubs. Kerala Kalamandalam Award in 1998. Fellowship from Central Human Resources Development Ministry. Kerala Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. Kerala Kalamandalam Fellowship. Shri Pattikkamthodi Puraskar - Kerala Kalamandalam. Shri Pattikkamthodi Puraskar - Gandhi Seva Sadan. Olappamanna Devi Puraskar. Kalamandalam Krishnan Kutty Podhuval Puraskar. Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair Kalyanikkuty Amma Puraskar. Puraskar from "Sarggam" Kongad.
His leading disciples include Kalamandalam Sreekumar and Kalamandalam Pradeep.
An ailment of late had forced him to take a break from Kathakali since 2005, but Vasu Pisharody's health improved over the years. He made a comeback to the stage in end-March 2009 at the Thirumandhamkunnu temple in his village of Kongad.
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