Innocent, the comedian who made generations of Malayalis laugh
Innocent, who always entertained everyone with his witty conversations of simplicity despite his flair for pomp, is no more. What is left are characters that make him immortal.
Actor Innocent passed into the ages on Sunday night after carving out a special place for himself in the history of Malayalam cinema. This is a massive setback for the Malayalam film industry and the audience; they are in anguish today.
Innocent had a film career of more than fifty years. It is only because of his uniqueness that he has been able to remain active for such a long time, no matter how skilled or popular he was in the art of acting.
Innocent established a foothold in his film career soon after his first film was released in 1972. It will come as a surprise to many that from the 1980s till this year, Innocent went without a movie for just one year in his career. In 2020, he was forced to take a short break due to inactivity following health issues. His last movie, Paachuvum Albhuthavilakkum, is due for release in April this year.
Reminiscing about Innocent, a gamut of memorable roles essayed by him comes to the mind of Malayalam moviegoers out of nowhere. Especially the characters who made us laugh non-stop. The list is endless -- 'Akkare Ninnoru Maran', 'Dheem Tharikida Thom' and 'Nadodikkattu', 'Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu', 'Pattanapravesham', 'Vadakkunokkiyantram', 'Ramji Rao Speaking', 'Mazhavilkavadi', 'Thalayana Manthram' , 'Gajakesariyogam', 'Dr Pasupathy', 'Kilukkam', 'Vietnam Colony', 'Mithunam', 'Manichitrathazhu' to 'Kalyanaraman' -- all of which made movie-goers, children and adults alike, laugh out loud.
Innocent did not show 'anger' with his comedy characters, just to make the audience laugh. Innocent can be used as a textbook on how an actor can entertain an audience with his body language, gaze and the rhythm of his dialogue.
Jagathy Sreekumar, Mamukkoya, Mala Aravindan, Kuthiravattam Pappu and Shankaradi are all unique talents who perfected the characters that came to them with their thinking power. Innocent's place is among them. But it is interesting to note that none of them could fight for each other's characters. Each is so unique that no other version is possible.
Philosophically, socially and politically, these geniuses constantly took part in the characters' designs. Each character was recorded separately with their own touch. Innocent was one of the last of these comedian-turned-naturals whom young moviegoers of today call legends.
Innocent also made his comic villain roles equally memorable. Movies like Kathodu Kathoram, Keli and Pingami are examples of this.
Innocent made us cry just as easily as he made us laugh with jokes and shows. The character of Kannas in 'Kabuliwala' is one character that Malayalis will never forget. Innocent's films that touched the audience with characters like 'Anaswaram', 'Devasuram', 'Hitler', 'Vesham', 'Nandanam', 'Devasuram', 'Manasinakare' and 'Ravanaprabhu' are in a different league of their own. Undoubtedly, he was a rare talent who could adapt any character to his maturity, but Innocent is the comedian who made generations of Malayalis laugh.
A chair with no replacement, a place no one else will take. Innocent, who always entertained everyone with his witty conversations of simplicity despite his flair for pomp, is no more. What is left are characters that make him immortal.
Also Read: Innocent passes away: 6 facts you should know about this doyen of Malayalam film industry