Tholan is believed to have been the first Namboothiri poet of Malayalam. Believed to have lived in the 9th century AD, Tholan is thought to have pioneered the use of Manipravalam (Malayalam and Sanskrit mix) in poetry. Tholan was a court poet and jester of the Kulasekharas and would write plays in which the Vidooshaka (clown) would parody the Sanskrit verses (spoken by a protagonist) in Malayalam. This began a long-standing tradition in Koodiyattam and Koothu.
The manual of acting in Koodiyattam, Aattaprakaarams, is attributed to him.