Nedumudi Venu, the legendary Malayalam actor who acted in over 500 films, passed away on Monday at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He was the recipient of three National Awards and six Kerala State Awards.
The 73-year-old actor was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the hospital on Sunday after he developed uneasiness. He had been suffering from post-Covid-19 complications and stomach related ailments. Later, his health deteriorated and he was declared dead at 1:30 pm.
Venu’s funeral will be held on Tuesday at 2 pm at Santhikavadam, an electric crematorium in Thiruvananthapuram, with police honours. The Kerala government noted that the arrangements for the funeral will be made by strictly adhering to the Covid-19 protocols. The protocol office of the government has said that bugles will be sounded instead of gunfire while providing police honours.
As soon as news about Venu’s death broke, many actors, film technicians, fans, and well-wishers paid tributes to the late actor on social media. Actors Kamal Haasan and Suriya, and filmmaker Priyadarshan, were among those who shared their condolences.
Actor Mammootty, addressing the media, said, “We knew each other for 40 years. It was not just an acquaintance, it was friendship and brotherhood. Only 10-15 days ago, he acted with me in Puzhu, and Bheesma Parvam before that. He was very active. His demise is a great shock for me.”
Actor Mohanlal reminisced about how he first met the late actor when they had gone to ask Venu to be part of Mohanlal’s first film Thiranottam (1978). “We had known each other since then to our recent film Aaraattu. I used to talk with him often over the phone. It was not a mere actor-to-actor relationship we shared. We have done many shows inside and outside the country. He was more than a brother to me.”
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Venu played a significant role in establishing the standards of acting by way of expression. He added that the actor took a keen interest in literary activities and mentioned that the experimental dramas and folk songs sung by Venu would stay in the minds of the people for a long time.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet, said, “Shri Nedumudi Venu was a versatile actor, who could fill life into diverse roles across many genres. He was also a prolific writer and was passionate about theatre. His passing away is a loss to the world of films and culture. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”
Filmmaker Rajiv Menon, who directed Venu in the 2019 Tamil musical drama film Sarvam Thaala Mayam, recalled how the legendary actor would try to get under the skin of every character he played. He added that Venu, who played mridangam vidhwaan Vembu Iyer in his film, had met with ace percussionist Umayalpuram K Sivaraman to prepare for the part. He noted that the late actor spent time and jammed with the musician until he got the nuances right.
Actor Manju Warrier, who has worked with Venu in films like Daya, Udaharanam Sujatha, Jack and Jill, and Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, recalled that the veteran actor had written her a letter when her father passed away, saying, “Don’t be sad. You will always have a father and mother here.” She added that with Venu’s demise, she had lost a loving father.
Venu had been shooting up until Saturday for Puzhu. Actor Parvathy Thiruvothu, who is also part of the film’s cast, said that she considers herself incredibly lucky to have been able to work with the “masterclass of an actor and just the most wonderful, loving human being.” She also noted that she had previously shared the screen with Venu in Charlie.