Innocent: A versatile actor who managed the political plot too
Before he entered the cinema, he was elected a councillor in 1979 to Irinjalakuda Municipality, his hometown, and was a local leader of RSP.
KOCHI: From reel to real life, Innocent, the versatile actor managed the political plot too excellently. Though many actors turned politicians, perhaps he was the only actor in Malayalam cinema who entered the film world after trying his luck in politics. Besides, he is the first actor from Mollywood elected to Parliament.
Before he entered the cinema, he was elected a councillor in 1979 to Irinjalakuda Municipality, his hometown, and was a local leader of RSP. Innocent was born to a family that has a Communist background but forged his political affiliations with RSP, an outfit that has a foothold in Thiruvananthapuram Kollam districts but less influence in the Malabar region. In his own words, he chose RSP to get a party position as it has only a few leaders in the region. Earlier, he approached Communist leaders but they asked him to first work for the organization and then think about the posts.
RSP granted him the post of Irinjalakuda Niyojakamandalam secretary. As per his memoirs, the late Baby John, K Pankajakshan and K K Kumara Pillai were stalwart leaders of RSP at that time.
In his autobiography, 'Chirikku Pinnil' Innocent says, he got the support of Congress and Left in his election campaign and that ensured his win to the Irinjalakuda Municipality. He also says that his father, Thekkethil Vareedh, a hardcore Communist, infused him with a political culture
His second innings in politics came in 2014 when the CPM-led LDF decided to back him in the Chalakudy Lok Sabha seat. Political pundits predicted that his winning prospects were slim because of the fight in a known Congress fort in which then-senior leader P C Chacko had been fielded. Chacko, the former Thrissur MP, tried luck in Chalakudy after changing sitting MP K P Dhanapalan to Thrissur. However, Innocent emerged victorious by a margin of 13884 votes and became the first actor to be elected to Parliament from the state.
Amidst reports that he would be replaced for the second time, CPM again backed Innocent in the 2019 LS polls but he lost to Congress leader Benny Behanan in Chalakudy.
Sathyan Anthikad's political satire released in 1991 featured Innocent as Yashwant Sahai - a Hindi-speaking politician arriving in Kerala as part of the party's all-India tour. However, the national leader finds himself in a tough spot among the party workers whose Hindi skills are pathetic. Tired and lost in dealing with them, Sahai warned "100% literate bandar ka bachaa". Ironically, over two decades later, Innocent, a real-life MP then, was said to put then Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in a tough situation with his speeches in Malayalam.
Uthup Vallikadan in the film `Oru Indian Pranayakatha' released in 2013, Innocent plays a politician who hops from one TV channel studio to another for debates. Johny Vellikala in Narendran Makan Jayakanthan Vaka, Palodan in Jomonte Suvisheshangal, and Home Minister Koyapparamban in Jack and Daniel are his other roles of a political leader still in the minds of the spectators.