The unforgettable Nedumudi Venu

The actor brought to life several memorable characters

Nedumudi Venu had an astonishingly long, fruitful career as one of Indian cinema’s greatest actors. He was part of several landmark Malayalam films. It is not easy to make a selection of his best performances; there have been too many. Here are some of them:

Kallan Pavithran

The 1981 film directed by Padmarajan told a fascinating tale set in rustic background. As the thief Pavithran, Venu gave one of his career’s earliest masterclasses.

Vida Parayum Munpe

Mohan, a director who has contributed greatly to Malayalam cinema during its golden period in the 1980s, often brought the best out of Venu. This film had the actor playing a young man who successfully hides the pains of his life from his colleagues.

Rachana

In another splendid film directed by Mohan in the 80s, Venu was brilliant as the young man fooled by his co-worker (Srividya), who is asked by her writer-husband (Bharat Gopi) to pretend she is in love with him, so that he could write a work of fiction on the experience. Its scriptwriter, John Paul, once told this correspondent that it was Gopi who chose Nedumudi and Srividya for the roles.

Chamaram

Bharathan’s campus film featured an unusual — and bold at that time — romance between Prathap Pothan and Zarina Wahab. Venu, as the young priest who is also a student, made quite an impact. It was one of his earliest box office hits.

Oridathu

In master filmmaker G. Aravindan’s surprise box office hit of 1987, Venu gave a superb performance as an electrical overseer who comes to a village that is about to get electricity.

His Highness Abdullah

In Sibi Malayil’s hugely popular drama of 1990, made from a superb screenplay by A.K. Lohithadas, Venu brought to life the patriarch of an erstwhile royal family, in the way only he could have. Not for the first time, he teamed up with Mohanlal to show how great acting could elevate a film.

Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam

In Bharathan’s beautiful film about an ageing couple, both former schoolteachers, Venu and Sharada were outstanding. It was another reminder of his versatility as an actor.

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