Veteran Malayalam actor Mamukkoya died Wednesday, 26 April, after multiple organ failure. He was 77.
On Monday, Mamukkoya had collapsed while participating in a football tournament at Wandoor in Malappuram after he suffered a cardiac arrest. He was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kozhikode and was put on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit.
The veteran actor’s body has been shifted to Kozhikode Town Hall to allow people to pay their last respects. The cremation will be held on Thursday (27 April) morning.
Mamukkoya was closely associated with renowned writer Vaikom Muhammed Basheer and eminent musician Baburaj, who also hailed from Kozhikode. He did over 400 films in the past 60 years.
Mamukkoya used to work in a timber mill in Kozhikode in the mornings and entertain people as a theatre artist (debuted in 1979) in the evenings.
The same year, he forayed into films with Anyarude Bhoomi directed by Nilambur Balan and followed it up with Surumayitta Kannukal (1967).
But Mamukkoya was noticed for his comic role in Doore Doore Oru Koodu Koottam (1986). He made a mark for himself as a comedian with his Malabar dialect.
He did notable roles in movies like Vadakkunokkiyanthram (1989), Kankettu (1991), and Ram Ji Rao Speaking (2014) — where his dialogue “Eda Balakrishna” became popular.
Master in comedy
The actor appeared in several movies helmed by director Sathyan Anthikkad in the 1980s and 1990s, including Gandhinagar 2nd Street (1986) and Sandesham (1991).
He also acted in Priyadarshan’s Chandralekha (1997) and Vettam (2004). Further, he did a French movie titled Flammen in Paradises (1997).
Mamukkoya’s iconic dialogue “Gafoor ka Dosth” from the 1987 movie Nadodikattu is one of the favourites for Malayalam film buffs.
Nobody thought that Gafoorka (Mamukkoya) in the movie will cheat Dasan (Mohanlal) and Vijayan (Sreenivasan) by sending the duo to Madras (Chennai) instead of Dubai.
Mamukkoya also worked with other actors like Sreenivasan, Jagadish, Mukesh, Innocent and Philomena.
His performances in projects like Mazhavilkavadi (1989), Vadakkunokkiyantram (1989), Chakoram (1994), and Ramji Rao Speaking (1989) are cherished even by the young generation of movie lovers.
Innocent, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Sankarady, and Mamukkoya were regulars in director Sathyan Anthikad’s films. But Mamukkoya became a permanent actor in his projects.
They both collaborated on around 30 films — Pattanapravesham (1988), Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu (1988), Varavelpu (1989), Thalayana Manthram (1999), and Innathe Chintha Vishayam (2008)
There are memorable scenes of the veteran actor with Dulquer Salmaan in Ustad Hotel (2012).
Mamukkoya’s role as Shajahan in Innathe Chintha Visheyam won him the Kerala State Film Award for Best Comedian. It was the first to be instituted for a comedian by the Kerala government.
He got yet another iconic character in director Kamal’s Perumazhakkalam (2004). For a change, he did a serious role here as Abdu, which won him a Special Mention in the Kerala State Film Awards.
Mamukkoya’s portrayal of a father of a Muslim man accused of terrorism in the hard-hitting music video titled Native Bapa (2013) took audiences by surprise.
In 2016, he did a hip-hop video titled Funeral of a Native Son, a musical tribute to Rohith Vemula. The video, directed by Muhsin Parari, was a direct attack on the resistance against college students who seek justice against oppression.
Similarly, the veteran actor was seen in serious roles in films like Halal Love Story (2020), Kuruthi (2021), and Theerpu (2022).
In real life, Mamukkoya was quite vocal about social and political issues, including Love Jihad. He had a close association with MT Vasudevan Nair, Thikodiyan, and Kunjandi.
Also, he avidly took part in cultural activities in Kozhikode.
On learning about Mamukkoya’s death, the Malayalam film industry expressed its heartfelt condolences.