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Venu Madhav was led by humour always

Venu Madhav Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Venu Madhav Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam   | Photo Credit: C_V_Subrahmanyam

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In a short span, the late actor created a niche for himself among the many talented comedians in the Telugu film industry

We saw Venu Madhav last during the elections to the Movie Artists Association and though he had looked frail, his spirit was intact. Despite knowing that he was ailing, his death came as a shock to the film industry. He was a great talent who had worked in over 700 films. Actors across the industry recall their association with Venu Madhav. Comedian Ali says in 1999 when he and Brahmanandam were touring the US with Nagarjuna, Venu too wanted to go with them and it was an unforgettable trip. Ali remarks, “Venu lived in Moul Ali, which is far from the studios. He would work two or three shifts travelling almost two hours each way. Pokiri, Priyamaina Neeku were some of the notable films he did with me and as heroes, we both worked in Hungama. He came to the industry with Sampradayam, by then I had already settled as an artiste. He would do mimicry and other entertainment programmes at functions for which I used to be invited as a guest.”

Director Siva Nageswara Rao gave Venu an opportunity to be the solo lead in his film Bhookailas. He recalls that after the release of Sampradayam, Venu would give visiting cards to the director now and then, asking him to get in touch if there was an appropriate role. Nageswara Rao gave him a small role in Hands Up, but unfortunately he appeared only in the rolling titles. He was upset and told the director to return the 113 visiting cards he had given him, he would try elsewhere with them. Of course, that was a light hearted statement.

Bhookailas had Venu play a milkman, who strikes gold during the real estate boom but unable to handle the success loses his wealth and comes back to square one.

Humble beginnings

Venu reportedly worked as a staffer in the Telugu Desam Party office where he met several film artistes; and eventually through their contact entered the film industry.

Venu at a certain stage became a star comedian and was so busy that he couldn’t allot dates to producers. A compulsive drinker, he fell ill and was admitted to the hospital five years ago. The opportunities dried up Senior character artiste Kota Srinivasa Rao laments the loss of Venu Madhav and says he was one of those comedians who was amply qualified to work; he could mimic, had a great musical sense — sang and played music. He shares, “I worked with him in Laddoo Babu and there were times when I would forget my lines and just gaze at him. He was very good at speaking in the Telangana dialect; losing him so early is so unfortunate.”

Sivaji Raja says Venu had been in touch with him almost every day. In just 15 years he did so many films that it would take somebody else 50 years, he adds. “I saw him sinking. I was with him at the hospital,” recalls Sivaji Raja and adds, “He would stock his car trunk with packets of oil, rice bags and pulses and distribute them to the needy wherever he went. He was a generous man.”

Venu Madhav was led by humour always

Star comedian Brahmanandam recalls the film that Venu produced; he had gifted a ‘Svarnahastha Kankanam’ to Brahmanandam. “He was the hero of the film, while Ali, M S Narayana and I were a part of the cast. Venu would comment, ‘Meeru comedians kadha... meeku non-vegetarian pedathara?’ That was his way to show off that he had become a hero. Of course everything was done in good humour. One day he came with his car and picked up MS Narayana and me; he said he would drop us at our place. He told me earlier that he would scare MS for a while. After driving some distance he put his hands in his pockets and said, ‘Anna... there was a clutch here, where did it go?’ Seeing that Venu was not holding the steering wheel, MS panicked and started screaming. There were many unforgettable incidents like this.”

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 1:29:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/a-great-talent-venu-madhav-had-worked-in-over-700-films/article29519386.ece

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