Kunchan Nambiar is the inventor of the performing art known as 'thullal.' He spent his early childhood at Killikurrussi Mangalam
, boyhood at Kudamaloor
, and his youth at Ambalapuzha
. In 1748 he moved to Travancore
, first to the court of Marthanda Varma
and later to the court of Karthika Tirunal Rama Varma.
Nambiar's Kalyana Saughandhikam is believed to be the first among the forty odd thullal songs he has composed for the stage. Each thullal composition consists of a puranic tale retold in simple rhythmic verse, fit for loud recitation before an audience. There are three kinds of thullals distinguished on the basis of the performer's costume and the style of rendering; Ottan, Seethankan and Parayan. The most important among Nambiar's thullals are Syamantakam, Ghoshayatra, Kiratam and Santanagopalam.