KOCHI: ‘Adi Sakke!’ The punch dialogue from the movie ‘Runway’ (2004) was much celebrated by movie buffs. The dialogue, uttered by Chinnadan Varkey, the antagonist, was later repeated by the protagonist – Valayar Paramsivam – boosting its popularity. Chinnadan, too, became equally popular among movie-lovers for the variety in dialogue delivery and the perfect shrewdness lent by the actor who portrayed the character – Kalasala Babu.
Sadly for the Malayalam movie industry, Babu, 68, passed away on Monday. The actor was admitted to a private hospital here following cerebral haemorrhage. He breathed his last at 12.30 am. His death has widened the void created by the passing away of character actors such as Rajan P Dev and Narendra Prasad.Son of kathakali maestro Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and mohiniyattam guru Kalamandalam Kalyanikkutty Amma, Babu entered the world of professional drama after completing his Bachelor’s course from SH College, Thevara. Initially, he worked with professional drama troupes at Tripunithura.
His entry to the Malayalam filmdom was through the movie ‘Inaye Thedi’ (1981). The role did not get noticed much, prompting Babu to continue in drama, later launching the troupe-Kalasala. Known names in theatre, including late actor Thilakan, were associated with Kalasala. The troupe wound up after a decade.
Babu made the switch to serials – which were gaining popularity at the time – and acted in nearly 22 of them. His second coming to the film industry was through ‘Kasthooriman’ (2003), directed by late director Lohithadas. Babu’s portrayal of Theevizhungi Lonappan in the movie was noted for the rawness of the character.
Following the success of Kasthooriman and Runway, Babu became one of the busiest actors in Malayalam. He mostly essayed villain and character roles at the time. Balettan, Ente Veedu Appuvinteyum, Perumazhakkalam, Pachakuthira, Chess, Pokkiri Raja, Thommanum Makkalum, Thuruppugulan, Mallu Singh, Two Countries and Mr Fraud are some of the super hit films in which Babu portrayed notable roles. He has acted in over 60 Malayalam films.
Since 2015, Babu’s movie presence dwindled, after Malayalam cinema started gravitating towards more youth-oriented subjects. He then came up with a professional drama troupe of Malayalam movie artists titled ‘Celebrity Kerala’ in 2017. He was the director of the troupe’s maiden play ‘Swantham Lekhakan’.
Babu lived at Royal Gardens near S N Junction in Tripunithura. He is survived by wife Lalitha and children Sreedevi and Viswanathan. His body will be kept at Tripunithura Koothambalam between 12.30 pm and 4 pm on Tuesday for the public to pay homage. The body will be cremated later.