Kerala has several classical art forms that are unique to Kerala. It is known all over the world by its own performing art form, the Kathakali. "Katha" means story and "Kali" stands for dance.
Kathakali is a classical dance and drama noted for a complete art performance with elaborate make up of characters, their unique costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined dance movements presented with singing and supporting music
Kerala has a rich set of folk dances. They are highly developed and got refined over time and have unique music and costume for each. Most of these are performed in connection with festivals, harvests, religious or community events etc. Some of these dances are performed by men alone, some by women. There are few dance forms in which men and women perform together. Most prominent ones are Theyyam, Thiruvathira kali, Oppana, Parichmuttukali, Margom kali, Kuthiyottam, Kavadiyattam, Thirayattam, Pulikali etc.

Malayalam saw revival from 19th century, after Kalidasa's Sakuntala was translated. Drama became popular almost same time as the left movements. Popular drama artists are Thoppil Bhasi, Krishna Pillai, CJ Thomas, NN Pillai, KT Muhammed who contributed to evolving the Malayalam drama into a popular art.
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Narendra Prasad was an actor, playwright, director, teacher and literary critic.

Film music is the most popular music in Malayalam, as the other Indian languages. Musicians like V. Dakshinamurthy, K. Raghavan , G. Devarajan and M.S. Babu Raj and lyricists like P. Bhaskaran , O.N.V. Kurup and Vayalar Rama Varma revolutionised the Malayalam film music, thus creating an identity of its own. K.J. Yesudas, still remains the most popular Malayalam singer.

The temples in Kerala practice what is known as Kalamezhuthu. The drawings of Bhagavathy and Bhadrakali are drawn on the lines of Murals using locally available material.
During festivals and marriages women apply tattoo to their palm and feet using Mylanchi.

Malayalam literature is about thousand years old, but Ramacharitam written in 12th Century is the earliest known work to start distinguish itself in terms of Malayalam language. From the late 19th century, it has produced a number of poets, playwrights, novelists, critics etc, thus enriching the Malayalam literature.
The mimicry artists in Kerala have molded the art form to an unique package of entertainment by often combining mimicking actors, politicians and other artists along with comedy skits, drama and music. The popular comedy serial in Cinemala has been one of the most watched programme on Malayalam cable channels. Cochin Kalabhavan has produced a number of professional mimicry artists who have later proven their overall artistic skills in several areas.