T’PURAM/KOCHI: Actor Ravi Vallathol, noted for his roles in over 100 Malayalam tele serials and nearly 50 films, died here on Saturday following a brief illness. He was 67. Ravi began his acting career with the serial Vaitharani, telecast on Doordarshan in 1986. He was also popular actor in mega serials like Sree Guruvayoorappan, Vasundhara Medicals, Manal Sagaram, Parijatham, and American Dreams — for which he won the state award for the best TV actor. Lenin Rajendran’s Swathi Thirunal was his first movie.
Ravi, who has authored 25 short stories, was also a lyricist and a scriptwriter. Son of noted theatre personality T N Gopinathan Nair, Ravi was also the nephew of renowned poet Vallathol Narayana Menon. After completing his masters in Sociology, he worked with the news division of Doordarshan. It was director P Bhaskaran who invited Ravi to act in his serial Vaitharani.A noted presence in most of the films of renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ravi has also acted in movies of noted directors T V Chandran and M P Sukumaran Nair. He and his wife Geethalakshmi were running a charitable trust named ‘Thanal’ for differently-abled children.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, among others, condoled the death of the actor.
A popular face
Way back, during the second half of 1980s, Doordarshan was the lone source of home entertainment to most of the people in Kerala. It was after portraying a major character in the serial Vaitharani that Raveendranath, popularly known as Ravi Vallathol became popular among family audiences. Ravi’s love for art forms and literature was triggered from his family members. Being the son of popular play writer T N Gopinathan Nair and nephew of poet Vallathol Narayana Menon, Ravi was interested in art and literature during his college days itself. After securing master’s degree in sociology, he joined the news section of Doordarshan Kendra.
However, Ravi entered Mollywood way before he acted in serials by penning story of the movie Revathikkoru Pavakkutty, directed by Sathyan Anthikkad. However, it was the 13 episodes of Vaitharani that made him popular. As a popular face in TV serials, Ravi has nearly 100 serials in his kitty as an actor.
His role in the Mathilukal (1989) directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan paved way for him to get some noticeable roles in movies too. His first major character in commercial cinema was Joy in Kottayam Kunjachan. Following the success of Kottayam Kunjachan, he got chance to portray notable roles in Godfather, Vishnulokam, Sargam, Commissioner and Nee Varuvolam. Ravi has acted in nearly 50 moves in Malayalam.
His last movie was The Dolphins, directed by late Diphan. He has acted in seven movies helmed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan. He also handled a prominent character in Sibi Malayail’s Sagaram Sakshi.“It was with great pain that I heard the demise of Ravi Vallathol. He was one of my dear friends who cherished some adorable moments in my life. He was the first person to interview me for Doordarshan. I still remember a young Ravi asking me questions, when I came out of the hall after receiving my first state award. Later, we acted together in many films including Adoor sir’s Mathilukal. He had always found time to call me or visit me. The demise of such a good friend is really hurting me a lot,” remembers actor Mammootty.