Malayalam actors remember former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy as a down-to-earth person

Malayalam film fraternity and mimicry artists recollect the personal rapport they shared with Ooommen Chandy, the man of the masses.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published Jul 19, 2023 | 1:22 PMUpdatedAug 10, 2023 | 1:01 PM

Oommen Chandy

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan termed Oommen Chandy’s death as the end of an era in Kerala politics.

The former chief minister’s body was flown to Kottayam from Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, 19 July, in a specially modified low-floor bus with garlands.

The veteran Congress leader was known for being the leader of the masses and he also had a close connection with Malayalam actors. Oommen Chandy was popular among the actors and mimicry artists as many imitated him on various occasions while he was the chief minister and later, too.

Also Read: Former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy passes away in Bengaluru

Special bond with Kottayam Nazeer

Kottayam Nazeer, a well-known mimicry artist, and actor imitated Oommen Chandy at many events. Also, he received appreciation for his performance from “the man of the masses” himself.

Nazeer shared a close connection with Oommen Chandy. The former chief minister liked the artist for his immense talent.

The veteran Congress leader was known for being the leader of the masses

The veteran Congress leader was known for being the leader of the masses. (Mohanlal/ Facebook)

On one occasion, Nazeer revealed that he shared a special bond with Chandy and could often telephone him.

Nazeer first met Chandy at an event in Karukachal, the actor’s native place. Chandy, who was the chief minister then, was late for the event. A local MLA requested Nazeer to perform something to keep the guests engaged.

Then Nazeer started imitating Chandy on the stage by which time the former CM arrived at the venue.

Nazeer recollected that Chandy enjoyed the programme and told him, “You filled my gap while I was late.”

But when Chandy fell ill, Nazeer decided to not imitate him again. “When a politician is in the limelight, the imitations are a reflection of their current actions. But in the case of Chandy, he personally appreciated me and also took the criticisms with a kind heart,” Nazeer recalled.

Down-to-earth leader: Mammootty

On Oommen Chandy’s 79th birthday, Mammootty visited the senior Congress leader and they complimented each other.

In his Facebook post, Mammootty said Chandy introduced the actor as his friend at a festival. “Chandy was always surrounded by people. He sponsored the cost of 100 children’s surgeries using CRS funds,” Mammootty wrote.

Mammootty also recalled his student days when Chandy was a prominent figure in the Assembly.

“Chandy had the good qualities of humility and he was a very down-to-earth person. He took me to the Puthuppally festival and introduced me as his friend. In the presence of Chandy’s humility, my own stardom paled in comparison,” Mammootty said.

Interestingly, the people of Puthuppally know Mammootty as Kunjukunju’s (Oommen Chandy) friend.

Obituary: A career marked by compassion; Congress’ ‘man of the masses’

Common man’s leader: Mohanlal

Oommen Chandy was a leader who always gave importance to the issues faced by common people, said Mohanlal.

In his Facebook post, Mohanlal shared that he shared a personal rapport with the former chief minister.

“Chandy was a humanitarian and a futuristic leader. He did a lot of welfare measures for the people and Kerala.”

Personal loss for me: Kunchacko Boban

Kunchacko Boban was among those who arrived at the airport to receive the body of the ex-chief minister. He told the media that Chandy’s death was a personal loss to him.

“I have known him for years. His death is a major loss for me. I know him personally and he is the most selfless leader I have ever met in my life,” Kunchacko said.

The actor also stated that Oommen Chandy was a real humanist who lived for the people.

“He used to attend all my family functions and I had the freedom to visit his home any time of the day and he treated everyone with equal respect.”

Kunchako Boban said that he once visited the former CM’s house at midnight after a function.

“I was surprised to see him buried in work, checking files, and attending phone calls. There were people sitting next to him. Chandy was the leader who braved ill health to serve the people,” the actor added.

Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran also condoled the death of Oommen Chandy. On Facebook, he wrote: “Rest in Peace”.

BJP leader and actor Suresh Gopi condoled the death of the former chief minister.

Other actors and actresses also condoled the death of Oommen Chandy on social media.

Also Read: Condolences pour in as Kerala grieves the demise of former CM Oommen Chandy