Nedumudi Venu was maybe the final amongst a bunch of actors, together with Thilakan, Bharat Gopi and Oduvil Unnikrishnan, who have been the mainstay of Malayalam cinema in Eighties and 90s with an array of unforgettable character roles
In one of many memorable scenes from the 1987 movie Sarvakalashala, the faculty scholar Lal, performed by Mohanlal, tells the free-spirited poet Siddhan Aashan, performed by Nedumudi Venu: “If Aashan leaves from here, my beat would become like that of a dead body. I want that other beat, the rhythm of life.” The scene leads into Aashan’s rendition of ‘Athiru Kaakkum Malayonnu Thuduthe’ in Nedumudi’s personal folksy voice.
That scene maybe offers a touch of what Nedumudi Venu was to Malayalam cinema, somebody with deep hyperlinks to its cultural ethos, its conventional artwork types and literature, somebody who imbibed the rhythm of life in Kerala’s rice bowl Kuttanad and introduced that sense of rhythm into his performances, which ranged from absurdly comical to deeply shifting.
The actor, who handed away on the age of 73 on Monday, was somebody who typically managed to interrupt the boundaries of the classification of ‘character actor’, beneath which he was bracketed in. There will not be one quintessential Nedumudi Venu function, for, in his heydays, he was unrecognisable from one function to the following — a lecherous, petty thief in a single and a sort priest or musician in one other.
Born because the youngest of 5 sons of P.Ok. Kesavan Pillai and Kunjikutti Amma in Alappuzha district’s Nedumudi, a backwater village that may later be extra identified after him moderately than the opposite means round, Venu took to performing fairly early in his life, scripting and performing in performs throughout his faculty days on the NSS School in Nedumudi and St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School in Champakkulam. During his days at S.D. College in Alappuzha, he teamed up along with his classmate and filmmaker Fazil for dramas and mimicry performances.
One of these performances introduced him in contact with Kavalam Narayana Panicker, in whose troupe he turned a member, performing in landmark performs, together with Avanavan Kadamba and Deivathar. For each day survival, he took up a part-time educating job in addition to journalism, writing tales on a number of the lesser identified folks artistes and on these within the decrease rungs of the movie world.
His movie debut got here in G. Aravindan’s Thambu in 1978. He maybe confirmed the primary indicators of his brilliance a yr later, as Chellappanshari in Padmarajan’s Thakara. The type of roles he acquired additionally has to do with the time he got here into Malayalam cinema. The Malayalam center cinema was simply taking off, with Venu changing into a daily presence within the movies of Ok.G. George, Padmarajan and Bharathan. Yet, on the identical time, he remained an unavoidable part for mainstream Malayalam cinema too.
He started taking part in characters means past his age fairly early in his profession. Padmarajan solid him within the function of a middle-aged tailor in Oridathoru Fayalvan in 1981 after seeing his efficiency because the outdated Kaalan Kaniyan within the play Deivathar. Venu was solely round 30 at the moment. Three years later, he performed a moderately naughty retired man in Priyadarshan’s Odaruthammava Aalariyam and a scheming outdated politician in Ok.G. Goerge’s Panchavadippalam.
One of his most memorable roles got here in 1981, because the eponymous thief in Padmarajan’s Kallan Pavithran. The supporting function as Udaya Varma Thampuran in His Highness Abdullah in 1990 fetched him a nationwide award. That yr additionally witnessed Bharatham, one of many highest factors of his profession the place he performed a Carnatic vocalist who slowly loses his music to his consuming behavior. Both these movies in addition to Chithram in 1988 had him sharing the highlight with Mohanlal, and holding his personal. The chemistry he shared with Mohanlal was additionally fairly evident in movies reminiscent of Orkkappurath and Thenmavin Kombathu.
In later years, he was seen extra within the function of elder patriarch of the household, nearly getting typecast in it. But, he did proceed to spring surprises, like he did within the ‘Rani’ section in Aanum Pennum earlier this yr, which had him a brief however impactful function as a crooked outdated man. He additionally essayed notable roles in Tamil movies, together with S. Shankar’s Indian and Anniyan.
Nedumudi Venu additionally wrote movies, together with Angane Oru Avadhikkalath, Kaattathe Kilikkoodu, Savidham, Theertham, Shruthi and Ambada Njaane!. He received 5 State movie awards.
He was additionally an completed percussionist who was equally good at Mridangam, Ghatam and Idakka, and a singer, along with his renderings of poems and folks songs having a preferred following, be it ‘Athiru Kakkum’, ‘Verumoru Moshtavaya’, ‘Aalayal Thara Venam’ and the music ‘Iru Thala Pakshi’ with singer Job Kurian. His grounding in music lent his performing performances in music movies that further contact of authenticity, be it singing ‘Aandolanam’ in Sargam or taking part in the Mridangam within the music ‘Swamintha Paripalaya’ in Chithram.
Nedumudi Venu was maybe one of many final amongst a bunch of actors, together with Thilakan, Bharat Gopi and Oduvil Unnikrishnan, who have been the mainstay of Malayalam cinema within the Eighties and 90s, with a wide selection of unforgettable character roles. Like every one in every of them, Nedumudi Venu is irreplaceable.