Sanskrit scholar Christopher Byrski (Warsaw University, former Polish Ambassador to India), the first foreign student of Koodiyattam was trained under Mani Madhava Chakyar. Anna Lopatowska, a film and television actress in Poland, was the first female foreigner to learn the art of Koodiyattam, and was also trained by Mani Madhva Chakyar.

Born in 1919 in Cairo, David Bolland sailed to India in 1946 as an official of the then Peirce Leslie & Co. and settled in Kozhikode in 1950. He saw his first Kathakali play in 1954, with the legendary late Guru Kunju Kurup in the leading role. From then, until his retirement in 1971 and return to England, Bolland saw 146 performances, kept notes on each and filmed many and became the first to document Kathakali.
(‘Yesterday once more’ by KK Gopalakrishnan, The Hindu, Jan 7, 2012)

Dr. Seena with an MRCP in child psychiatry is in the process of producing a documentary film ‘The Legend of Malabar’ on the contributions of David Bolland, the first person to document Kathakali.

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