Shri Krishnan Kaladharan Nair was born in 1950 in Neyya- ttinkara town in Kerala. A commerce graduate, he received a basic training in traditional theatrical forms of Kerala such as Kathakali, Ottanthullal, Velakali, and the martial art of Kalaripayattu. In the mid-1960s he was attracted to the amateur theatre in Malayalam, and after a decade with various groups joined the Sopanam repertory at Thiruva- nanthapuram in 1975.
Since the late 1970s, Shri Kaladharan has played leading roles in Sanskrit and Malayalam plays produced by Sopanam, some of which have been featured in international arts events such as the Festivals of India in the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union, Japan, and Greece. These plays include Bhasa’s Madhyama Vyayogam (1979) and Karnabharam (1984), and Kalidas’s Shakuntalam (1980), all directed by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar. The latter’s plays Avanavan Kadamba directed by G. Aravindan (1975), Ottayan (1977) and Karimkutty (1983) directed by the playwright himself, Kalanatheeni (1987), and Kaikkuttappadu (1989); Sardar K. M. Panikkar’s Bhishma directed by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar (1994); and Prappidiyan (2001) and Bali (2005), which Shri Kaladharan himself wrote and directed are other productions in which his work as an actor has been much acclaimed. He has worked with the Footbarn Theatre in France for two years, enacting the lead role of Odysseus in a produc- tion of Homer’s Odyssey which travelled all over France, England, Ireland, Columbia, Spain, and India in the mid- 1990s.
Shri Kaladharan founded the Rasika Arts and Cultural Society in Thiruvananthapuram in 1986 and has written and directed several plays for the group. He has developed a voice-training method for actors and has participated in theatre work- shops all over India and Europe. Shri Kaladharan Krishnan Nair receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribu- tion to Indian theatre as an actor.