Innocent had shared the dais with renowned oncologist V.P. Gangadharan on several occasions in the past. In the actor’s own words, he gave scant regard to the doctor then.
But as fate would have it, when a deadly visitor called cancer paid him a visit a few months ago, threatening to snuff out his smile and that of others, it was the same doctor that proved his trusted physician in flushing out that disease from his system.
The expertise of Dr. Gangadharan, coupled with the actor’s innate sense of humour, ensured that the affable artist survived to prescribe an interesting mix of remedies to get rid of the much feared disease: “The care and guidance of a noted oncologist like Dr. Gangadharan, the presence of family members and friends, prayers of those around you, and most importantly, the ability to laugh even in tough times.”
Interestingly, Innocent used this ‘magic prescription’ effectively to overcome nonhodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects lymph nodes. Dr. Gangadharan, who was standing close to him, said that Innocent has been cured of the disease. “We have evaluated his health status and there are no reasons for any worry,” he said.
The doctor and his patient opened up their minds on the sidelines of an exhibition of paintings at the Durbar Hall art gallery on Monday. The event was unique, as Eby N. Joseph, whose works were displayed at the venue, is also a former patient of Dr. Gangadharan.
In lighter vein, Innocent advised his friend and actor Sreenivasan, who was present, to get acquainted with Dr. Gangadharan. “You may not know when you will require his service,” he said, triggering a round of laughter.
Sreenivasan’s reply was quick. “Cancer will not touch me, as I don’t nurture any vicious thoughts”. Prompt was Innocent’s counter, ‘Daivam dushtanmare pana pole valarthum’ (God allows the wicked to flourish).
Dr. Gangadharan attributed this sense of humour displayed by Innocent and his ability to bring a smile on the face of others too as a key element in overcoming cancer. “A positive frame of mind will help in restoring the patient’s health,” he said.
Innocent chipped in saying that lighting a few candles alone would not cure the disease.
“People have to take the right medicine and also remain positive throughout the treatment process to survive. Even God would have turned angry, if I had remained at home and refused the right kind of treatment,” the actor said in his characteristic style.
It was this steely determination and resolve that helped the actor beat the dreaded disease. Innocent recalled the lives of several persons, including children who suffered immense pain after being diagnosed with cancer. “I have realised that my pain is nothing when compared to the trauma faced by these tiny tots and their parents,” he said.
Dr. Gangadharan said that Innocent was successful in bringing relief to many patients through his words laced with humour. “He could handle the situation in a positive manner. People like Innocent should live many more years, as they are destined to bring smiles on the faces of thousands through their movies,” he said.