K Ramachandran is one of those obsessed and active art lovers that the arts world cannot do without. He is the founder member and principal mentor of Keli, a Mumbai based Charitable organization striving to preserve, develop and propagate the classical and traditional cultural heritage of India. Under the banner of Keli, he has relentlessly researched, documented, presented and celebrated the great performance arts and artists of Kerala in particular. Every year, under his leadership, Keli holds delightful annual festivals in Mumbai - presenting thayambaka, or melam, or kathakali and more to a Mumbai audience in ways that appeal to us without losing the essential magic and core of the forms. In this lies the genius of Ramachandran - his ability to introduce age-old forms of performance to audiences in authentic and yet immensely delightful ways, his commitment to keeping the soul of the art alive even as he archives, documents and presents.
Ramachandran has been responsible for the publication of 2 books by Keli - Proud Imprints of Natyaveda documents the life and work of some of the most prominent masters of a variety of art forms and Abhinethri (The Actress) by Usha Nangyar explores the female presence in Koodiyattam, the world's most ancient theatre tradition.
A few years ago, Ramachandran forayed into making documentary films to record the great masters and promising proteges of the performance arts. His films include Kaalam (The unending Time) on the life of Sri Pallavoor Appu Marar, which received the Kerala Kala Mandalam Award for the director of the most outstanding short film devoted to performing arts, Sikhi (The Fire) on female power and dynamism in Nangyar Koothu, the world's most ancient women's theatre tradition (1200 yrs) and Koodiyattam, Saamam (The Music) on the musical journey of the great Karnatic vocalist the Late MD Ramanathan, and Pranathi on the formidable presence of the unmatched Melam artist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, in the contemporary rhythm music of Kerala. He is currently engaged in the production of two films - one on the Kathakali maestro, Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboodiri and the other one on the children of Rhythm from a percussion village which boasts a rhythm tradition of 1431 years.