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 theatre 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.
According to film scholar N Balagopal, Venu was one of the few actors in Indian cinema who excelled both as stylised 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 performances 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 to the Malayalam cultural world highlighting his skills in popularising poems and literature.
Born in 1948 in Nedumudi in Alappuzha district, he also displayed his talent in playing several musical instruments and his recital of Malayalam poetry is legendary in the southern state.