I suggested Innocent for 'Aviduthepole Ivideyum' role: Mammootty

actors Innocent, Mammootty
Innocent and Mammootty did several combination scenes over the years

Mammootty who acted with Innocent in several movies, says that the late actor had a huge influence in his life. He also added that he was a friend, mentor and elder brother. Mammootty took to social to pen a heartfelt tribute to the actor who passed away in Kochi on Sunday.

“Innocent is no more…. Just like any other separation, it is grief that I first feel when I think of Innocent now. But the very next moment, I think of the endless occasions of laughter he gifted us. Just the fact that we are able to associate poignant as well as joyful memories when we think of him is proof of the deep influence he had in our life. If I have to talk about my personal association with Innocent, when I say that he was ‘like a friend, mentor, and elder brother’, I will have to remove ‘like a’ from there. He was truly a friend, mentor, and elder brother to me," he wrote.

According to him, he first saw Innocent in the tea shop scene in ‘Nellu’. "At that time I was someone who used to notice all the significant and insignificant actors on screen and was curious to know about them. And during my struggling days, I kept wondering who was this guy who appeared in bit roles in ‘Nrithashala’ and ‘Jesus.’ The name ‘Innocent’ itself was rare back then. And even now. I was able to meet Innocent in person when I started to act. He and his friend David Kachappalli were the producers of Nedumudi Venu’s ‘Vidaparayum Munpe.’ The banner was called Shathru films. I was more inclined towards the new-wave filmmakers of that time and was keen on acting in their films. And Innocent’s Shathru films was focused on producing arthouse films than mainstream ones," he stated.

"That’s how my friendship with Innocent started and evolved into a deeper bond. That was how Shathru films' ‘Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flashback’ fell into my lap. Directed by K J George, in the film placed in the backdrop of the film industry, I played Prem Sagar, who plays a hero in a film within the film. Later it was the collaboration of Mohan, Innocent, and Sreenivasan that resulted in ‘Oru Kadha Oru Nunakadha.’ That film in which I played Professor Mohandas, helped in cementing my friendship with Innocent."

"My friendship with Innocent who spoke in undiluted Thrissur slang strengthened over time. And being a junior in that circle of film friends, I hung around as a listener and observer. Gradually I started getting better roles. In the John Paul scripted ‘Avidathepole Ivideyum’ headlining me and Mohanlal, I played the role of Anirudhan who worked as a salesman. When they were casting for the role of Thrissur businessman Lonappan, I was the one who suggested Innocent’s name. And in his characteristic style, he made the scene between us entertaining," he said, while adding that he went on to do several combination scenes in various films over the years.

"In 1995, when AMMA was being formed, Innocent was at the forefront. When they were planning to reshuffle the administration, Innocent’s name was suggested for the position of president. Everyone thought he had the ability to handle any difficult situation calmly which will turn out to be an asset to the organisation.

Innocent would make up stories about everyone. He made sure the person he weaved a story about would hear it first. And it was repeated to others only after he made sure the person laughed at the story first. He would change the main character according to the listener. So when he narrated a story to me, Mohanlal would be the main character and vice versa. More often Innocent would be the main character of his stories. He was only interested in making us laugh and he was someone who never gossiped or said anything malicious about anyone.

When you evaluate him as an actor, there are so many characters that come to your mind that only Innocent can pull off. I can think of so many characters in the films we collaborated on. Every now and then, without any special reason when he comes into my mind, I call him. I had called him before he was hospitalized.

With his demise, we have lost an individual, actor, organizer, social worker, and friend. So have I. A person cannot possibly don many hats in his life. He can only be himself. But Innocent was able to play several roles in real life and nurture friendships. That’s why so many people thronged to pay their last respects to him. He will always be a poignant but happy memory for us. Someone who always spread happiness wherever he went. What more can he earn in life than the laughter he was able to spread even in the dreary cancer ward?," he signed off.

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