KOCHI: A career spanning five decades. He acted in 500 movies, essayed numerous unforgettable characters. Three national awards and six state awards bear testimony of his illustrious career. As Nedumudi Venu, the versatile actor, bids adieu, he leaves behind a legacy that will be etched in gold in the annals of Malayalam cinema.
Born as Venugopal at Nedumudi in Alappuzha to PK Kesavan Nair and P Kunjikkuttiyamma in 1948, he completed his primary education at NSS Higher Secondary School and St.Mary's Higher Secondary School, Champakkulam.
Venu had shown immense talent in traditional art forms during his academic period. He completed his graduation from S D College Alappuzha and later joined Kala Kaumudi magazine as a journalist. He shifted to Thiruvananthapuram where he joined the team of gifted artists including Aravindan, Padmarajan, and Bharath Gopi.
A versatile singer who gave a new raw touch to the traditional folk songs especially that was written by his Guru late Kavalam Narayana Panicker, Venu was also a talented Mridangam player.
Venu started his acting career through the dramas written by Kavalam. He made his movie debut through Aravindan's Thambu (1978). He added his native place Nedumudi along with his name. It was his acquaintance with Bharathan that proved a turning point in his career where he was offered a role in the director's movie Aravam (1978). He portrayed the character of Maruthu to perfection and thereby
becoming one of the lead actors of Malayalam cinema in character roles.
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Spontaneous acting, exceptional voice modulation, and his calibre in portraying comedy and serious roles effortlessly helped Venu in getting back-to-back projects. He soon became an inevitable element for the movies crafted by masters of the golden age of Malayalam cinema (the 1980s).
He won the State Award for the best supporting actor for the movie Chamaram in 1980, followed by the best actor award in 1981 for the movie Vidaparayum Munpe. He again won the State award for best actor in 1987 for the movie Oru Minnaminunginte Nurungu Vettam. He won the State awards three more times- Special Jury Award in 1990 for Bharatham, second-best actor award for Thenmavin Kombath in 1994
and Best actor award in 2003 for Margam.
At the national level, he won the best supporting actor award for His Highness Abdullah in 1990, special jury award for Margam in 2003. He also won a national award for best narration for Minukku in 2006.
Malayalam film industry and political leaders took to social media to condole the death of Venu.
Shocked and saddened by the demise of icon of Malayalam film industry Shri Nedumudi Venu. One of the finest actors who was versetile in his roles. Condolences to his family and well wishers. pic.twitter.com/43QkTFeYuf— Ramesh Chennithala (@chennithala) October 11, 2021
#nedumudivenu was a legend, but every role he got into, he would try and get under the skin of the character, for Vembu iyer in #sarvanthaalamayam , he met #umayalpuramsivaraman spent time,jammed with him and he just got it right, Venusir was kind, generous and talented. Missyou! pic.twitter.com/MQyQplsAzW— Rajiv Menon (@DirRajivMenon) October 11, 2021
Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of a great legendary actor #NedumudiVenu Sir. Not only was he a great actor but also a wonderful human being. Had the honor of my husband directing him in one of his films. Will miss him. May his soul rest in peace. #RIP pic.twitter.com/twCUKWkzgc— KhushbuSundar (@khushsundar) October 11, 2021