A genius called Adoor Bhasi

Adoor Bhasi and Sreelatha in ‘Ammayi Amma.'

Adoor Bhasi and Sreelatha in ‘Ammayi Amma.'  

There are some talents who have no peer.

Adoor Bhasi was one such. His 25{+t}{+h}death anniversary falls on Sunday.

He was the first truly great comic genius of Malayalam cinema. Barring Jagathy Sreekumar, nobody has come anywhere near him.

It would be unfair though to dismiss Bhasi as a comedian. He was also one of the finest character artistes Malayalam cinema has ever seen. He showed his versatility as an actor in films such as Cheriyachante Kroorakrithyangal, Chattakkari, Mohiniyattam, Kavalam Chundan, Dharmayudham, Raagam, and April 18 .

Comedy was his forte, no doubt. “All the actors who have attempted comedy in Malayalam cinema, including me, could learn a lot from him,” says actor Jagadeesh. “I grew up watching him in theatres of Thiruvananthapuram. The moment he entered the screen, the audience would begin to laugh. Among his films that I particularly enjoyed watching were Ayalathe Sundari, College Girl, Ladies Hostel, Rest House, and Sthanarthi Saramma .”

For some three decades, he was almost an inevitable ingredient in Malayalam cinema. He acted in well over 500 films. In more than a hundred of them, he paired up with Sreelatha.

“Yes, we were an extremely popular pair; only Nazir and Sheela were liked more,” Sreelatha says. “I never thought that I would be able to do comedy, but Bhasi gave me the confidence and he taught me the nuances of acting.”

She remembers that Bhasi’s contribution to a film he was in was not limited to acting. “He used to write many of the comic scenes, which were not part of the original screenplay; he was a voracious reader and writing was in gene, being the grandson of C.V. Raman Pillai and son of E.V. Krishna Pillai,” she says. “He could write songs, tune them, and even shoot them sometimes.”

It may be well over two decades since he was last seen in a film, but we still pause to watch him when we see a film of his on television or on YouTube. And he still makes us laugh; sometimes even his memories enough to put a smile on our faces.

Adoor Bhasi’s 25{+t}{+h}death anniversary

falls today.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 11:20:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/a-genius-called-adoor-bhasi/article7044900.ece

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