A Few Awards Wouldn’t Have Hurt, Would It?

Paravoor Bharathan was probably the first villain-turned-comedy star of Malayalam cinema.

He started off his movie career donning roles of gangster bosses in old thriller movies such as ‘Light House’, ‘Karutha Kai’ and others. His characters, usually decked out in one of those chequered lungis with thick belts around the waist and sporting prominent black birthmarks, invariably came onto the scene yelling and screaming.

After essaying mostly villainous characters in his early career Bharathan went on to do many notable comedy and character roles. He came up with several notable performances through the 1980s and 1990s. In all the years though, he never received the recognition due to him or any accolades from the government.

Some of his most popular films include Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal, Mazhavilkavadi, Godfather, Mrigaya, In Harihar Nagar, Ammayane Sathyam, Aniyan Bava Chetan Bava and Meleparambil Aanveedu.

Bharathan’s career as an actor began on the stage in the late 1940s. His first movie Rakthabandam released in 1951 and he was active in movies until 2009. After that Ill health prevented him from having any further role in films.

Born into poverty in 1929 in Ernakulam, Bharathan had a difficult childhood. He was just eight when his father died and had to quit studies before long. He became interested in theatre at a young age and soon moved to the professional stage where he shared stage space with many prominent theatre artists of the day.

His first major break in movies came in 1964 in Karutha Kai where he played the villain. He went on to work in over 250 movies since then and worked with yesteryear heroes like Nasir and Sathyan as well as with stars like Mohanlal, Mammootty and ‘new generation’ actors.