Nobody could have oscillated between protagonist and antagonist in one movie as Nedumudi Venu effortlessly did in the evergreen Malayalam hit movie Thenmavin Kombath. The 1994 movie, which also stars Mohanlal and Shobana, made generations laugh, turn its dialogues into pop-cultural references, and hum its music. The late actor, Nedumudi Venu, shifts between a hero and a villain as the movie progresses and easily gets into the skin of the character of Sreekrishnan Thampuran â€” a loving brother, a best friend, a local leader and a romantic yet jealous lover. That was how Nedumudi Venu convincingly played his characters in over 500 films.
Nedumudi Venu, who passed away on October 11, mostly played positive character roles â€” a loving father, a funny relative or a caring friend. But when he did take up the role of an antagonist or anti-protagonist (antihero), he ensured his audience sat up, leaving them spellbound. He proved that negative roles were also his cup of tea. He suffused the role of a villain with his own individualism, irrespective of the shades of darkness the character called for.
In the 1982 movie Alolam, he played the role of a Thampuran (landlord), who is a womaniser and destroys his friend's family life. It was his first movie as the villain. From there, he proved his mettle as a villain in several movies, where one would equally recall the hero as well as the villain.
One of the successes of an actor who plays the antagonist is making the audience hate the character. Champakulam Thachan, which was released in 1992, was one such movie, where Nedumudi gave a new dimension to a villain role. In the movie, which is based on Shakespeare's tragedy Othello, Nedumudi Venu as Kuttiraman spreads gossip about him and the lead female character, rapes her and then accuses her of trapping him. By then, the viewer has already developed a rage towards Kuttiraman, thanks to the actorâ€™s expressions, mannerisms and style of dialogue delivery.
In Oru Second Class Yathra (2015), directed by Jeckson Antony and Rejish Antony, starring Vineeth Sreenivasan, Nikki Galrani and Chemban Vinod Jose, the late veteran actor was an uncanny villain â€” a loving dad in disguise of a villain who had been trying to sexually harass his stepdaughter. He was convincing as a man with a gentle nature while he veiled the wickedness in him. In 2015, Nedumudi played the role of a villain in Shibu Gangadharanâ€™s magic-mystery thriller Rudra Simhasanam, starring Suresh Gopi. The same year, he was awarded the Asianet Film Awards for Best Villain role in these two movies.
His characters in movies such as English Medium (1999) and Love in Singapore (2009) came with shades of grey.
Watch Nedumudi Venu as villain in Ghost House
Watch Nedumudi Venu as villain in Champakulam Thachan