(This article is authored by Alar)
The Malayalam film industry is mourning the loss of one of its most beloved and versatile actors, Innocent Vareed Thekkethala, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 75. The actor, who was also a former MP and a two-time cancer survivor, had been undergoing treatment at VPS Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi after contracting Covid-19. He breathed his last around 10 pm on March 26.
The actor was admitted to the hospital in Kochi two weeks back due to breathing issues. According to a medical bulletin released by hospital authorities on Sunday, the actor's condition deteriorated significantly. As per reports, the actor was receiving Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support.
At the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Kadavanthra, his body will lie in state from 8 am to 11 am, at the Municipal Town Hall in Irinjalakuda from 1 pm to 3.30 pm, and finally at his residence. The funeral service will take place at St. Thomas Cathedral in Irinjalakuda on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Innocent is survived by his wife Alice Innocent and two children Sonu Innocent and Minnu Innocent.`
Innocent’s demise has left a huge void in the Malayalam film industry and many celebrities and politicians have expressed their condolences and tributes on social media. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "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. Condolences to his family and admirers. May his soul rest in peace: PM @narendramodi" Actors like Prithviraj Sukumaran, Dulquer Salmaan, Nivin Pauly, Manju Warrier and others also shared their grief and memories of working with Innocent.
Innocent, who was fondly called as ‘Innocent chettan’ by his fans and colleagues, was known for his impeccable comic timing and natural acting style. He made his debut in 1972 with Nrithasala and went on to act in over 750 films in a career spanning five decades. He worked with some of the biggest names in Malayalam cinema, such as Mohanlal, Mammootty, Sreenivasan, Priyadarshan and Sathyan Anthikad. Some of his memorable films include Ramji Rao Speaking, Nadodikkattu, Sandesham, Kilukkam, Vietnam Colony and Devaasuram.
Innocent was also a successful producer and a writer. He produced films like Vida Parayum Munpe, Ilakkangal and Ormakkayi and wrote books like Laughter in the Cancer Ward, which chronicled his battle with the disease. He was also a popular politician and served as the MP from Chalakudy LS constituency from 2014 to 2019.
He was also the president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) for 15 years.Innocent’s last film was Kaduva, which released in 2022. His fans will get to see him one more time on screen in Paachuvum Albhuthavilakkum, which is slated to release on April 28.
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. Condolences to his family and admirers. May his soul rest in peace: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 27, 2023
#Innocent's body is being transported to his hometown of Irinjalakuda in a KSRTC AC bus and will be laid in state at Town Hall in Irinjalakuda till 3/3.30 pm and then moved to the actor's home. His funeral service will be held on Tuesday (28.03.2023) tomorrow at 9.30 am, at St… pic.twitter.com/2XudI9mOOx— Snehasallapam (@SSTweeps) March 27, 2023
Devastated!! We have lost a great actor. Moreso a great human being. What a legend he was. With the passing away of #Innocent Sir, we have lost a priceless gem. May his soul rest in peace. Heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and his followers.— KhushbuSundar (@khushsundar) March 26, 2023
Om Shanti 🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/l8ZonwMPKu