Nedumudi Venu, rated as one of the most talented actors in Indian cinema, died at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on Monday. He was 73. Having recovered from Covid-19, Venu had been in a critical condition for some time due to liver-related ailments.
After initially being admitted to the hospital on October 5th with tiredness and weakness, he was transferred to intensive care on Saturday, a spokesman for the private facility where he was treated told the media. The doctor treating Venu told the media that he died of kidney-related issues and sepsis. Liaison officer Praveen Jojo of KIMS Health in Thiruvananthapuram, said Venu had breathed his last on Monday, October 11th.
Born in 1948 in Nedumudi in Kerala’s Alappuzha district, Venu began his career as a theatre artiste with famous dramatist Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s experimental theatre group. He entered films in 1978 with G. Aravindan’s Thambu.
Nedumudi Venu won three National Film Awards, and six Kerala State Film Awards for his performances. Venu was known for his roles in “His Highness Abdullah,” “Bharatham” and “Margam,” among others. His most memorable performance that established Venu as a talent in Malayalam cinema was in Thakara in which he played the role of a village carpenter. Some of his best films included Aravam, Vidaparayum Munpe, Kallan Pavithran, Chamaram, Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam, Chithram, Thenmavin Kombath, Margam and Arimpara. Ente Mazha directed by Subrahmanyam was his last film.
In his film career spanning over four decades, Venu acted in over 500 movies in Tamil and Malayalam as hero, villain and character actor. 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.
Over the decades, Nedumudi Venu shone as an actor who could deliver powerful performances. His talent at handling serious and comedic roles with equal aplomb was admired in the industry. He turned screenwriter for films like Kattathe Kilikkoodu, Theertham, Sruthi, Ambada Njane, Oru Katha Oru Nunnakkatha, Savidham and Angane Oru Avadhikkalathu. The actor also helmed a film titled Pooram. Besides acting, Venu was also adept at playing the mridangam.
Actor-filmmaker Prithviraj Sukumaran took to Twitter to mourn the demise of Nedumudi Venu. Sharing a photo of the veteran artiste, Prithviraj wrote, “Farewell Venu uncle! Your body of work and your expertise over the craft will forever be research material for generations to come! Rest in peace legend! NedumudiVenu.”
Filmmaker Sangeeth Sivan also expressed grief at the news. His post read, “Absolutely shattered to know that NedumudiVenu is no more! One of our finest actors. Such a huge loss to Malayalam cinema. He leaves behind an impressive & varied filmography & will live in our hearts forever. OmShanti.”