From Modi to Mohanlal: Politicians, film stars pay rich tributes on passing of veteran Malayalam actor Innocent

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and several other politicians also expressed their condolences on the demise of the Malayalam star

By Web Desk

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Published: Mon 27 Mar 2023, 2:17 PM

Last updated: Mon 27 Mar 2023, 4:30 PM

Veteran Malayalam actor and former minister Innocent, who made millions laugh with his comic timing and his versatility on screen, passed away in Kochi on Sunday. The actor, a cancer survivor was reportedly not keeping well for some time and was admitted to the hospital on March 3 with respiratory problems.

After learning about the unfortunate demise, prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities took to their social media to mourned his death. Offering his condolences over the actor's death, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter: "Pained by the passing away of noted actor and former MP Shri Innocent Vareed Thekkethala. He will be remembered for enthralling audiences and filling people’s lives with humour."


Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday condoled the death of veteran actor and said that Innocent was an artist who gained an unforgettable place in the hearts of the audience.

"As a politician also, he managed to touch the lives of the people and his social environment. Innocent who has been a well-wisher of Left politics contested the elections on the request of the Left Democratic Front and gained prominence for the work he has done as an MP," Kerala CM said.


Innocent and Mohanlal’s on-screen chemistry has produced several precious moments on the silver screen. The duo were great friends off-screen as well. In a note shared on Facebook, Mohanlal wrote, "What to say my innocent... Just like that name, [you] spread laughter, love and comfort innocently to the whole world, holding those who were with you like a brother, standing by me for anything. I don't know how to put into words the sadness of your separation. My mind still tells me to believe that you are not gone. My Innocent will always be with me every moment with that innocent smile, love and admonition. Wherever you are, you will always be there for me."

Saddened with the demise Prithviraj Sukumaran took to Twitter and wrote, "End of an iconic chapter in cinema history! Rest in peace Legend! #Innocent."

Dulquer Salmaan shared a couple of pictures of himself with the late actor and penned down an emotional note, "We lost the brightest shining star in our constellation. You made us laugh till we cried. You made us cry till our insides hurt. You were an actor of the highest calibre. One of those timeless all time greats. Beyond that you were all things wonderful. You were all heart."

He added, "You were family. To mine. To everyone who watched you on screen. To everyone you met. I've had the privilege of knowing you closely. Like my fathers brother. Like an uncle to Surumy and me. You were my childhood. And I grew upto act along side you. And you regaled us with stories then and now. Always gathering people. Always lifting them up. My thoughts are all over the place. As is my writing. I love you dearly Innocent uncle. Rest in peace."

Union Minister Anurag Thakur, on Monday, wrote to Twitter, "Sh Innocent Vareed Thekkethala (fmr MP) was a gifted actor who worked in over 700 films; he filled people's lives with happiness through his comedy. My sincere condolences to his family and admirers."

Kerala Industries Minister P Rajeev was among those who offered their tributes to verteran actor. Expressing his condolences Rajeev said, "There is no substitute for Innocent in Malayalam cinema. He was a personality who always stood with the left-wing movement. I was in the Rajya Sabha when he was in the Lok Sabha. Together we shared ideas of doing charity work."

"He was able to reflect his politics in whatever comedy he performed and whatever he wrote. We have lost an actor and a philanthropist, loved by all Malayalis. He had been struggling for the past few days. He was a cultural worker who upheld humanity," the State minister added added.

Innocent passed away at 10:30 pm on Sunday night, the VPS Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi said in a statement. The hospital said that the non-functioning of many organs and a heart attack led to the actor's death.

He was diagnosed with cancer but in 2015 he announced that he was finally free of the disease. He had written about his battle in his book 'Laughter in the Cancer Ward'. He is survived by his wife Alice, and a son, Sonnet.

Born in Inrinjalakuda in 1948, Innocent entered the film industry in 1972 with the movie 'Nrityashala' starring Prem Nazir and Jayabharathi.

The actor was last seen in Prithviraj Sukumaran's 2022 film 'Kaduva', has done over 700 films in Malayalam in a career that spanned over five decades. He had also served as president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) for 12 consecutive years.

Considered one of the best comedians in Malayalam cinema, Innocent also appeared in villainous roles. With his unique voice and mannerisms, he had endeared himself to countless cinema lovers as well as a toast of mimicry artists.

He played comedy roles in 'Ramji Rao Speaking', 'Mannar Mathai Speaking', 'Kilukkam', 'Godfather', 'Vietnam Colony', 'Nadodikattu', 'Manichitrathazhu' and 'Kalyanaraman' among others.

Innocent also portrayed villain roles in films such as 'Keli', 'Kathodu Kathoram'. Other films included 'Kabooliwaala', 'Gajakesariyogam', 'Mithunam', 'Mazhavilkavadi', 'Manassinakkare', 'Thuruppugulan', 'Rasathanthram', 'Naran' and 'Mahasamudram'.

A former MP from the Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency Innocent represented CPI(M).

In 1979, he was elected as the municipal councillor of Irinjalakkuda municipality.

He won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency as an independent candidate supported by the Left Democratic Front (LDF). Innocent served as the president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), a guild of Malayalam artists from 2003 to 2018. He has written books based on his memories and columns in magazines and newspapers.

Inputs from ANI, PTI

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