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Votary of good cinema

P.K. AJITH KUMAR

Thespian Nedumudi Venu's zeal for acting remains undiminished even after 30 years before the camera.


Acting is something I will be doing as long as I can Nedumudi Venu

PHOTO: S. RAMESH KURUP

Nedumudi Venu says his character in the film is one of the most challenging roles he has enacted on the big screen.

After spending nearly three decades in front of the movie camera and essaying an astonishingly wide variety of roles, Nedumudi Venu is still enthused about acting. There is a gleam in his eyes when he talks about his latest film, `Thaniye,' and his character in the film, George.

"This is one of the best roles in my career, and the most challenging after my role in `Margam,'" says Neudumudi, who was in Kozhikode last week. "I have written the film's script along with the director. People often ask me if I don't get bored playing old men. This film, directed by Babu Thiruvalla, who has produced movies like `Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam,' `Savidham' and `Amaram,' is my reply to them." The film is about an ill, elderly man and his unusual relationship with a home nurse, played by Lakshmi Gopalaswamy.

Simple film

"It is a simple film without any pretensions," he says. Coming as it does from a man who has played a wide range of memorable characters from all walks of life, `Thaniye' should be a film worth looking forward to. He feels such films have become a rarity now because everyone wants to make only big cinemas.

"Earlier too, big films were made, but very rarely; there was space for small films such as `Palangal', `Ilakkangal', `Rachana' or `Aalolam."'

He says today's Malayalam cinema needs more directors who can conceive a film on their own. "We don't have many film-makers like Padmarajan, Aravindan or Bharathan and directors like K.G. George are not making films as frequently as they used to. What Malayalam cinema requires is directors who are convinced about the kind of films they want to make and who can write as well. Unfortunately, a lot of pretentious films are being made these days. The directors want to make the film look like a serious work but what they aim at is only box office success. You can't have the cake and eat it too."



MEMORABLE CHARACTER: Nedumudi Venu and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy in `Thaniye,'

Nedumudi himself had made a promising debut as a director, with `Pooram' way back in 1989. He had also written the scipt of the film. Nedumudi did not direct a film after that, though he did write stories for films like `Oru Kadankatha Pole,' `Theertham' and `Sruthi.'

"I will direct another movie, for sure," he says. "Though `Pooram' wasn't a bad film, it could have been better, if I had planned it properly. Acting is something I will be doing as long as I can."

It was the childhood he spent at Nedumudi, a village in Alappuzha, that made him want to be an actor. "My eldest brother was a star in the amateur plays that were staged in our village. He made a great Lord Krishna and also excelled in female roles. I too specialised in female roles; you know I even won the prize for the best actress in a competition in school, much to the chagrin of many girls who acted in other plays," he chuckles.

Talented artistes

He says he has enjoyed acting all these years because Malayalam cinema has some of the most talented artistes in the country. "When I began, I was impressed by actors from an earlier generation - Kottarakkara and Sankaradi. I have learnt a few things about acting from them. It has been an absolute pleasure sharing the screen with actors like Bharat Gopi, Mohanlal and Mammootty. All of us bring the best out of one another. "

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