Exploring the magic of Vineeth's characters: A unique charm in Malayalam cinema

Vineeth Radhakrishnan
Vineeth made his movie debut through IV Sasi’s ‘Idanilangal’ which was released in 1985. Photo: Manorama

Veteran actor Vineeth Radhakrishnan has been entertaining the Malayali audience with his incredible performances since he was a teenager. The actor is being showered with positive reviews since the release of his latest film ‘Pachuvum Athbuta Vilakkum’. Meanwhile, a note posted by Farsana Ali about the versatility of Vineeth too has become viral on social media. Many have observed that Vineeth’s characters have an unpredictable nature to them. Interestingly, that is exactly what makes him a splendid actor and what gives a unique charm to his characters.

It is quite seamless that he plays a hero, villain or character role. He is one of the rare actors who can enchant the audience by perfectly enacting the nuances of a character. A trained classical dancer, he has been able to rely on his training to give perfection to his characters. Moreover, he is one of the few male dancer–actors who don’t fall into the trap of femininity while essaying the roles of dancers.

Vineeth made his movie debut through IV Sasi’s ‘Idanilangal’ which was released in 1985. Meanwhile, in 1986, he surprised the Malayali audience as an innocent teenager in the romantic drama ‘Nakhashatangal’ written and directed by Hariharan. That year, Vineeth won the prestigious Kalaprathiba award at the state school youth festival. Soon, Vineeth became one of the most sought after actors of the iconic MT Vasudevan Nair – Hariharan team that delivered many superhit movies. Vineeth essayed amazing roles in ‘Amrutham Gamaya’ and ‘Aranyakam’ made by MT – Hariharan. Meanwhile, the actor collaborated with other prominent filmmakers like Bharathan, Padmarajan, Bhadran, Prathap Pothen, Joshiy, Priyadarshan, PG Vishwambaran, Thambi Kannanthanam and Venu Nagavally.

Vineeth rose to fame as a lead actor through Kamal’s ‘Chambakulam Thachan’ which came out in 1992. He also played the lead role in ‘Acharyan’ which was released in the same year. Interestingly, 1992 became a significant year in Vineeth’s career as he played some unforgettable roles in successful movies. The character in ‘Daivathinte Vikrithikal’ directed by Lenin Rajendran earned him praise. Meanwhile, his character with a touch of negative shade in ‘Kamaladalam’ cemented his position as a splendid actor in Malayalam cinema. The same year saw the birth of Haridas, the iconic character in ‘Sargam’ which is touted as the best role in the actor’s career. Vineeth became the undisputed youth icon of Malayalam cinema through this musical drama that was written and directed by Hariharan. The beautiful lines of the movie penned by Chovallur Krishnankutty had a poetic quality to them. The songs written by Yusufali and composed by Bombay Ravi are still evergreen hits. The movie was both a critical and commercial success and won several awards too.

‘Gazal’ made by TA Razzaq – Kamal and ‘Kabooliwala’ by Siddique – Lal were blockbuster musical dramas that were released in 1993. However, it was veteran filmmaker Fazil who experimented with the actor’s abilities in ‘Maanathe Vellitheru’ in which Vineeth played the role of an unpredictable person with a dual personality. In the first half of the movie, Vineeth’s character Ramesh is a villain who stalks the heroine. However, when the past life of the character is revealed, the audience feels sympathy towards him. Vineeth impressed everyone by effortlessly pulling off the complex character.

‘Maanathe Vellitheru’ proved that unique characters that had a bit of eccentric and fantasy elements were safe with Vineeth. Films like ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Moonnamathoral’ and ‘Arike’ explored the eccentric – fantasy elements in Vineeth as an actor. In 1992, Vineeth made his Tamil debut through ‘Avarampoo’ written by Padmarajan and directed by Bharathan. Soon, he earned his rightful place as a talented young actor in South India.

The song ‘Mutafa Mustafa’ composed by legendary musician AR Rahman for ‘Kadhal Desam’ became a youth sensation. No one could ignore Vineeth’s incredible charm as he danced to the scintillating beats of the song alongside Abbas. Vineeth is an amazing artist who can show magic with perfect sound modulation. It was he who dubbed for Vivek Oberoi in ‘Lucifer’ and Arjun in ‘Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham’.

Romantic dramas like ‘Mazhavillu’ and Prem Pujari’ in which he shared screen space with another young actor Kunchacko Boban marked his growth as an actor. Vijaykrishnan, the writer who visits Germany to meet his friend looks like a perfect gentleman. However, he turns into a different person as he gets attracted to the friend’s wife. He doesn’t hesitate to murder his dear friend just to be close to his wife. The audience couldn’t believe the fabulous transition of this character that was perfectly essayed by Vineeth. He was able to convincingly convey the complexities of the character in ‘Mazhavillu’. Meanwhile, his character Murali in ‘Prem Pujari’ may be annoying in the beginning. But, he too excites the audience by shifting the gears quite effortlessly. Debutant director Akhil Sathyan deserves credit for exploring the incredible actor in Vineeth who could pull off any character.

His character Riyas in ‘Pachuvum Athbuthavilakum’ is a rich upper-class businessman. He is quite rough and often behaves rudely to his son and mother. The audience might feel that Riyas doesn’t possess even a drop of kindness. However, he turns into a loving son as soon as his mother kindly calls him ‘Raisu’. You could see that he is overcome by unending love and kindness when he becomes his dear mother’s darling Raisu.

The audience was truly mesmerized by the scintillating transition from the aggressive Riyas to his mother’s favourite Raisu. It would only be fair to say that Malayalam cinema industry hasn’t fully explored the incredible talents of this multi-talented artist. Until then, we could hope that Vineeth continues to surprise the audience with his unique characters.  

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