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Last Updated Friday April 27 2018 12:24 PM IST

Abi: the artist who lost precious time

I Sreenath
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Abi: the artist who lost precious time The artist in Abi was often upset of not getting a space in films and he was vocal of it.

In the mid- and late-90s, the Malayalam filmdom saw the rise of a new genre of low-budget movies which were running to packed houses and raking in the moolah. The protagonists were a group of young men who were by then stars in the realm of mimicry. Their theatrics and people-connect ushered in a new genre of films which were at once close to people and economically viable. For once, it seemed the stars were suddenly shining down on a bunch of commoners.

Some of them went on to be superstars, like Dileep; and others found a niche place in movies, like Harisree Ashokan and Kalabhavan Nawaz. The others were but not lucky enough and foundered on the cinematic surf, landing a good role once and fading into oblivion otherwise.

Abi was among the promising actors of the 90s revolution who could not but break into the preserved fortress of stardom. He and Dileep were among the nondescript and boisterous airmen under a disciplinarian tutor played by superstar Mammooty in the film Sainyam (directed by Joshi). It took a while for Abi to break out of the fringes and find his deserving place under the arc lights. By then, the tastes of the cinema scape had changed and the croaky voice of Amina Thatha, the personification of sarcasm and Abi's masterpiece, was not evoking the much-needed chuckles.

Abi was by then trying to identify and position himself in filmdom and showbiz, trying out everything from appearing as Amina Thatha on the mini-screen and being a judge for reality shows. As the format of films changed into the new and ground-breaking, Abi was mildly pushed into oblivion as he was yet non-adaptive of the avant garde themes and the duality of entertainment that was evocative.

The artist in him was often upset of not getting a space in films and he was vocal of it. The resilience in him but found him dubbing for ads and became the Malayalam voice of actors like Amitabh Bachchan.

Abi was an artist who was in the midst of films and on its fringes at the same time. He will be remembered for being forgetful of what he could have done, given his theatrics and capability as a class imitator and memeist.

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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