Thiruvananthapuram: Nedumudi Venu, rated as one of the most talented actors in Indian cinema, died at a private hospital here on Monday.
He was 73. He is survived by wife and two children.
Recovered from COVID-19, Venu had been unwell for quite some time and was admitted to the hospital after he complained of uneasiness.
Shifted to the ICU, his condition worsened on Sunday despite efforts by doctors. He breathed his last on Monday afternoon.
Beginning his career as a theatre artiste with famous dramatist Kavalam Narayanapanicker’s experimental theater group, Venu entered the Malayalam movie world in 1978 through G Aravindan’s movie “Thambu.”
His most memorable performance that established Venu as a talent in Malayalam cinema was in “Thakara”–a 1979 Malayalam-language drama film directed by Bharathan and written by Padmarajan–in which he played the role of a village carpenter.
He never had to look back after that. The versatile actor handled a series of character roles bordering on humour.
In his film career spanning over four decades, Venu acted in over 500 movies as hero, villain and character actor.
His unique style of acting and talent made him one of the finest actors in Indian cinema.
According to film scholar N Balagopal, Venu was one of the few actors in Indian cinema who excelled both as stylized actor and realistic actor which in Indian theatre tradition is called Natya Dharmi and Lokadharmi respectively.
Venu put up stellar performances in films scripted and directed by P Padmarajan such as Kallan Pavithran and Oridathoru Phayalvan by displaying exceptional performance exploring the inner persona of each character, Balagopal said.
In his late 30s and early 40s, he acted as a 70 plus year-old man in many movies earning him recognition in the film world.
Film analysts also recalled Venu’s contribution in the Malayalam cultural world highlighting his skills in popularising poems and literature.
Born in 1948 in Nedumudi in Alappuzha district, Venu performed in dramas in his college along with Fazil, who later emerged as an outstanding film director.
Seeing their performance in a drama competition in their college, Kavalam Narayana Panicker invited them to join his experimental theater group.
He also displayed his talent in playing several musical instruments and his recital of Malayalam poetry is legendary in the southern state.
A recipient of national and state film awards, Venu adorned notable roles in Mohanlal-starred movies such as His Highness Abdullah and Bharatham.
Nedumudi Venu also directed and did a pivotal role in one of Malayalam’s early tele serials “Kairalivilasam Lodge” produced for Doordarshan.
“Ente Mazha” directed by Subrahmanyam was his last movie.
His cremation will be held here tomorrow.