How Pinarayi’s intervention ended a flurry of phone calls by ‘Elsy’ to Innocent that irked Alice

Innocent. Photo: Manorama

It has been a year since actor and Member of Parliament Innocent passed away.
But his uncanny knack for making others laugh remains embedded in the psyche of Malayalis and his coworkers in the Malayalam film industry, including superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal.
Innocent would call up close pals from the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital many times. He then narrates some quirky plots to engage them and hangs up by saying the rest will be revealed after he is back.
And he honoured that promise, always.

Mohanlal was among those who were a bit surprised about this “Innocent behaviour.” What is wrong with him? Such calls should not be made from the ICU, Mohanlal reportedly said once.
Innocent wasn’t one to take this piece of advice. “He (Mohanlal) doesn’t know the joy of being there (ICU),” he used to quip.
It seems the actor who enthralled Malayalis with truckloads of comedies had cut short his film commitments “to have some fun”.

The Irinjalakuda Church festival happened when Innocent was admitted to the ICU. Innocent was a permanent fixture in the Church feast and ensured he was at home during the festival always, and wandered aimlessly with his friends.
On the last day of the fete, he travelled in a car through the streets enjoying the festive spirits despite the effect of powerful medicines weakening his body.

Innocent was a great traveller- He took time off to travel with his kith and kin and stayed in Ooty many times to relish his holidays filled with fun and laughter.
It was Mammootty who told Innocent that he should contest the elections. Mammootty also told him that Pinaray Vijayan would personally call him.
After discussing this with his dear and near ones, Innocent decided to contest. And won.

That meant that calls to his home multiplied as all partymen wanted Innocent to participate in various functions and deliver his trademark speeches laced with laughter.
As calls and functions spiralled out of control, Innocent called up Pinarayi himself and asked for an appointment.
Pinarayi told him he was available all the time and asked Innocent to come and meet him.

Innocent put forth his problem in a candid way: I have an issue with my wife Alice. The issue was about the mounting calls from a certain ‘Elsy’.
It was Alice who attended the phone calls as Innocent was always busy.
The callers would just tell Alice to pass on the message that the call was from Elsy! (the Local Committee of the CPM).
Innocent told Pinarayi that Alice thought Elsy was a woman with him he had started an affair after his poll foray.

From now on, the district committee alone would call and inform you about the programmes Innocent would have to attend, Pinarayi assured. Elsy’s endless calls ended there.
As his majority began to rise exponentially during the counting in his first polls, Innocent joked that he would have to get acquainted with the trick of getting up soon after fainting from Kalabhavan Mani, underscoring the deep bond between the two actors. Innocent had a sort of paternal affection for Mani, who shared all his woes with the former.

And for many others as well as film personalities, Innocent was an anchor in life.
Innocent also had a substantial say in even the family matters of many stars. He had been instrumental in reuniting many spouses by wielding his soft skills.
Likewise, Innocent took the lead to look after many artistes who didn’t even have money for medicines.
When questions were raised in AMMA about such largesse, Innocent just invoked the golden days of the artists who are now in penury.

That was a reminder to all that anything can happen to anyone.
Innocent doused all fireworks that could have set AMMA’s meetings on fire, industry insiders say.
The last time he was admitted to hospital also Innocent called up Satyan Anthikad and Mohanlal. He asked them to convey to Mammooty his message: This time, he won’t be back as usual.
His voice was faint. That was four of five days before March 26, the day he bid adieu.
This time, the Irinjalakuda Church fete was held without the joyous presence of the man who spread cheer to countless film buffs.

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