A few years ago myself and my family were at the Anthikad High school ground to watch a professional drama. I remember feeling rather impressed by the performance of this short man who spoke in a unique way. Soon after the performance, I went backstage and met him. That’s when I discovered that he was an actor called Kochu Preman who acted in the film ‘Ezhunirangal’ directed by Jesy. But guess what was the funny part? I worked as Jesy’s associate director in that film. It never crossed my mind that it was the same actor who was standing in front of me.
During the scripting of ‘Irattakuttikalude Achan’ I told Sreenivasan about Kochu Preman. And Preman came to Kozhikode to meet us. That led to Preman sharing screen space with Jayaram in the film. Though he had a small role, he made an impact.
It is considered a blessing for an actor if he is able to create a style of his own. Kochu Preman was an actor who gave his own distinct style to his characters. Some of his recent characters went beyond the realm of comedy and underlined his evolution as a solid character actor. And it is during such a time that he left us.
When he used to call me occasionally I remember telling him that he was following the late actor Bahadur’s path. Especially the way they both handled comedy and character roles with ease. Even in his last film, ‘Joker’ Bahadur has made us cry. We witnessed Suraj Venjaramoodu’s transformation from comedy to character roles. I was beginning to enjoy that transition in Kochu Preman.
So many of our talented actors left us early and we hadn’t seen enough of them. Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Sankaradi, Nedumudi Venu, KPAC Lalitha, Kuthiravattom Pappu, Bobby Kottarakkara, and now Kochu Preman also joins that list.
No one is indispensable in cinema. Mammootty keeps saying that even without any of us cinema will keep going. So cinema will move forward without Kochu Preman. But that doesn’t take away the fact that his death is a huge loss for the audience and a personal loss for me.