Keshavan Venugopal who is famously known by his artist name, Nedumudi Venu left for his heavenly abode yesterday. He is survived by his wife Susheela and their two sons.
The veteran actor was 73 years old and was one of the finest Malayalam cinema had to offer. The myriad of characters he had portrayed has been etched into the minds of the viewers who have relished the brilliance of his performance over the years.
A 1000 emotions across 500 movies in a career spanning over 40 years in 5 languages. There hasn’t been a role Venu sir hasn’t portrayed to his absolute best. A historic simpleton, the brutal villain, the supportive father, or a rebel son. The greys of his life have spanned across the black and white to HD to OTT platforms.
Versatile roles with extraordinary performances might be a downplay for the talent he introduced into Malayalam cinema. His familiar face dominated a major part of the Malayalam gems; be it his debut movie Thambu or well-sought collaborations with the numerous actors and directors which gave us masterpieces like Thanmathra, Chitram, Ishtam, Kinnaram and many more.
He has collected an accolade of awards and appreciation for his work including three National Awards and six Kerala State Awards. Not only will it be difficult to imagine Malayalam cinema without Nedumudi Venu but the brilliance he has achieved and the pedestal he has built for himself will stand as testimony amongst newcomers who enter the industry. Each scene and dialogue pierced the audience, whether it was his tears or wrath or a loving glance and sometimes a quiet gesture of his fingers enjoying the tunes of a song.
Nedumudi Venu was someone who came from humble beginnings – that of a journalist and exquisite theatre ventures – before he made his entry into the industry. And once he entered, he never left. He secured his place amongst the most sought in the industry. He was also an accomplished Mridangam player and not to mention his scripts evoked the deepest emotions. It is said that the artist can never die as long as the art stays alive. This stands appropriate to this case where Venu sir’s milestones will stand testimony to time, serving as an inspiration and guide and even nostalgic to those who want to traverse the past years.
As we’re choked with emotions and too shocked to accept the news, he will stay alive every time he comes on screen and as we will fondly remember him as ‘Venu Chettan’.