Mamukkoya obit | An actor who could single-handedly elevate the entertainment quotient

There was an innate honesty in his humour that often sprang from sarcasm, sometimes subtle and sometimes sardonic

April 26, 2023 06:43 pm | Updated 06:50 pm IST - KOLLAM

In Malayalam cinema, there are very few actors who can single-handedly elevate the entertainment quotient of a scene. Mamukkoya was one. There was an innate honesty in his humour that often sprang from sarcasm, sometimes subtle and sometimes sardonic.

His comebacks were blunt and laconic as he revelled in deadpan comedy. In many a movie he was serious and ludicrous at the same time, magnifying the comic potential in everyday life. He was part joker and part philosopher as he delivered some iconic dialogues, taking his art to an all-new level. His roles and repartees in the 80s and 90s never went stale as they had the potency to launch a thousand trolls and memes even after decades. For the new generation, he was their quintessential ‘thug king’.

Mamukkoya was also perhaps the first artiste to introduce Kozhikodan brand of humour in the most endearing manner. His ‘mappila’ dialect and his unapologetic allegiance to everything home-spun made him the first choice for many popular roles, including the one in His Highness Abdullah. He was Subramaniya Shastrial who greeted people with a carefree ‘asalamu alaikkum’. In one of his most famous comic scenes, Mamukkoya gallantly says every Hindu sage born in Malabar will be using the same slang.

Be it Aboobackar, the teashop owner in Ponmuttayidunna Thaaravu, or Kunjikhadar, the pickpocket in Mazhavil Kavadi, the actor in Mamukkoya knew how to hold fort. A staple in Sathyan Anthikad and Priyadarshan films, Mamukkoya excelled even in miniscule roles. While his characters in Vadakkunokkiyantram and Thalayanamanthram were responsible for some hilarious scenes, the ‘Gafur ka dosth’ dialogue in Nadodikattu has become an evergreen movie quote over the years. He was also a surprising scene-stealer in Perumazhakkalam, a film that fetched him a State Film Award and proved he was perhaps an underused talent.

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