Mamukkoya passes away: a look at 4 iconic scenes with the comic genius

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By Webdesk


Veteran actor Mamukkoya passed away today at 1:05 PM and the cinema in Malayalam as a whole is mourning the untimely passing of the legendary artiste, who has been active in films for 44 years. Mamukkoya is undoubtedly one of the best actors Malayalam cinema had. He has demonstrated his understanding of comedic and dramatic parts with equal ease. The actor is known for his goofy one-liners and was often referred to as the official “King of Thugs,” a call back to his skill at delivering quick, wisecracking jokes in the most humorous way possible. The actor who has starred in over 400 films has left a rich legacy of his on and off screen comedic chops during interviews. His one-liners are a part of Kerala’s pop culture.

Let’s take a look at his long-lasting legacy and some of his most iconic comedic scenes:

Gafoor Ka Dosth from Nadodikkattu

No Malayalee can help but have a big smile on their face at all the passing references to this iconic line from the 1987 classic movie “Nadodikkaattu”. The movie starring Mohanlal, Shobhana and Sreenivasan saw Mamukkoya in an extended cameo where he stole the show from the film’s leading stars in all the scenes in which he appeared. The dialogue in which he teaches two ignorant boys the basics of the Arabic language with the hope of surviving life in Dubai with the “Aslam Valekkum, Valekkum Aslam” in his famous thick Thalassery accent is one of the most iconic scenes in the film history of Malayalam. Even his scam of cheating hopefuls of two unemployed Gulf aspirants with failed job promises is undermined by his naive delivery of the rules. This has become part of the cultural conversation in Malayalee when trying to speak Malayales Arabic in a funny context, thanks to Mamukkoya’s eternal line readings and heartfelt performance.

“Please Smile” by Vadakkunokkiyantram

This is yet another iconic scene in the annals of Malayalam cinema, from the classic Sreenivasan star Vadakkunokkiyantram. The film also had a small cameo as a classy photographer who is annoyed by Sreenivasan’s look as he clicks a picture with his wife, played by Parvathy Jayaram. He injects a sort of playful sarcasm into the way he treats the pair posing for the photo, commenting on the hero’s lack of height as an insult but with a deft touch. The scenes in which he is involved are laugh riots even to this day, in typical Mamukkoya fashion that mixes a lived-in quality with an otherwise short part on screen.

“Aadhyam Body Kandathu Ayalanu Sir” by Oppam

In a more recent scene from Priyadarshan’s thriller Oppam starring Mohanlal, Mamukkoya delivers much-needed comic relief in all the scenes he’s a part of. One of the most hilarious scenes with Mamukkoya and Chemban Vinod sees him playing a security guard who has been summoned to testify against his testimony in a murder. What follows, however, is a masterclass in puns and measured jesting, unparalleled in Malayalam cinema. When asked if he is the one who saw the body first, Mamukkoya confused the police officer with his epic one-liner, “Ayaal Anu Body Adhyam Kandathu” which is a common custom in Kerala, when people try to complicate simple things by stating of unnecessary details. Priyadarshan’s brilliant writing also helps, but it’s really a genius-level passive construction of the joke that sucks you into the scene and has been a modern classic of its storied career.

“Aaru Nee Badree” by Manthra Mothiram

This particular comic sequence is rooted in some foreknowledge of Mamukkoya’s famous dialogue delivery and quirky accent, which has made him a household name. In the scene, he is paired with actors Dileep and Mani from the movie Manthra Mothiram where he sings a traditional song from a play in Hindu mythology with a totally non-synchronous tone usually associated with Muslim wedding dances. The hilarious scene is special because of its childish innocence where it accuses Mani of being biased because he finds his song problematic. The rendition of the tune, his appearance in the wise attire, everything adds flavor to the scene.
These scenes don’t sum up his comedic chops in any way. His turns in films like Chandralekha, Ramji Rao Speaking, Vettam, Sandesham, Megham and many more have contributed more to everyday Malayalee slang than any other actor. His familiarity, realistic acting style and unconventional accent have all led to his legendary status over a 40-year career where he has shared the screen space with actors like Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Jayaram up to the latest actors in Malayalam. cinema for his longevity as a serious performer. Not a day goes by that Malayalee makes a passing reference to one of his now obscure film lines or dialogue. What else can an artist achieve with a long, flawless career.

READ ALSO: Legendary actor Mamukkoya dies at age 76; Tovino Thomas, Condolences to Jayasurya



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