P. Venu

P. Venu
Born Pattathil Venugopalan Menon
(1940-11-08)November 8, 1940
Purannatukara, Thrissur, Kingdom of Cochin, British India
Died May 25, 2011(2011-05-25) (aged 70)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Other names Venu , Udhyogastha Venu
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter, lyricist
Years active 1967-2011
Notable work
Spouse(s) Sasekala (m. 1972–2011)
Children Vijay Menon
Sridevi Venu Suraj

P. Venu (Malayalam: പി. വേണു, 8 November 1940 25 May 2011) was an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter with over 20 films to his credit. His directorial venture Udhyogastha in 1967 was the first ever multi-starrer film of South India. His work in Malayalam cinema was significant and most influential, covering all themes and genres over a career spanning 40 years. One of his most recognized film C.I.D. Nazir in 1971, revolutionized movie-making in the investigative genre in Malayalam cinema. Following the commercial and critical success of this film, he came up with two more in the series - Taxi Car in 1972 and Prethangalude Thazhvara in 1973, which were recognized as the first investigative sequels in the history of Malayalam cinema. From the late 60s to the 90s he continued to make films and then decided to take a break to devote more time to his family. His last film Parinamam (The Change) in 2003 won an honour for Malayalam cinema, winning the Best Screenplay Award at Ashdod International Film Festival held in Israel. In 2005 he was bestowed with the Kala Prathiba (Icon of Creative Arts) Award by the Kerala Film Critics Association for his immense contributions to Malayalam cinema. He was also an active member of MACTA (Malayalam Cine Technicians Association). He published his book titled Udyogastha Muthal (meaning ‘From Udyogastha Onwards’) in 2010 reminiscing his life as a filmmaker and his experiences in the film industry.

Early life

Born at Purannatukara in Thrissur district, Kerala, he was eldest of the three siblings to Madhava Kurup and Ammaniamma. He was fascinated about filmmaking from his early years. It was his passion and love for Cinema that led him to Merryland Studio, Trivandrum, Kerala. He worked there as an apprentice and Assistant Director for a few years, before he made his first directorial debut Udhyogastha in 1967.

Personal life

In 1972, Venu got married to Sasekala from Parithipulli in Palakkad district, Kerala. Their son Vijay Menon is a writer, filmmaker, freelancer and a creative consultant, and their daughter Sridevi was a professor at Ethiraj College for Women,Chennai, presently settled with her husband in Canada.


He made his debut in the world of Malayalam Cinema as a Director and Screenwriter with Udhyogastha in 1967. It was the first ever multi-starrer film made in the Malayalam film industry, starring Prem Nazir, Satyan, Madhu, K. P. Ummer, Sharada and Vijaya Nirmala, who were all super stars of that era. It was also the debut film for the child artist Shoba in Malayalam Cinema and was named as 'Baby Shoba' by Venu. He followed this super commercial success with family dramas Virunnukari and Veettu Mrugam both in 1969. His versatility was widely acclaimed when he directed the first full-length comedy in Malayalam Cinema Viruthan Shanku in 1968, starring the legendary comedian Adoor Bhasi. His works covered many themes and genres earning him much regard as one of the veteran Film Directors of South India. He revolutionized Malayalam movie-making in the investigative genre in 1971 with C.I.D. Nazir, followed by Taxi Car in 1972 and Prethangalude Thazhvara in 1973, which were the first ever investigative sequel made in the history of Malayalam Cinema. His collaboration with the then Superstar action hero Jayan, created the iconic action scene in the film Ariyappedatha Rahasyam in 1981. M.S. Baburaj (Baburaj), G. Devarajan, K.Raghavan, R. K. Shekhar, M. K. Arjunan and later with Raveendran and Johnson were some of the legendary music directors he worked with. Songs from his movies were extremely popular and has become evergreen hits in the Malayalam music world. Compositions like, Anuraga Ganam Pole (Udhyogastha), Ezhuthiyatharanu Sujatha (Udhyogastha), Ninmamiarayile (CID Nazir), Neela Nishidhini (C.I.D. Nazir), Malayala Bashathan (Prethangalude Thazhvazha) are memorable even today and some of the most listened-to songs from his movies. He worked with the leading Actors, Musicians, Cinematographers, Production houses over four decades debuting the careers of many of today’s leading film and entertainment personalities in the industry. His last film Parinamam (The Change) in 2003 for NFDC (National Film Development Corporation of India) won an honour for Malayalam Cinema winning the Best Screenplay Award at Ashdod International Film Festival in Israel. His creative works and love for Cinema urged him to publish a book Udyogastha Muthal in 2010 where he penned his life and experience as a filmmaker. In 2005 Kerala Film Critics Association bestowed him with the Kala Prathiba ‘Icon of Creative Arts’' Award for his film-making, creativity and contributions to the Malayalam Cinema industry.

P. Venu, along with Prem Nazir and Vijaya Nirmala during the making of Udhyogastha.

Parinamam (The Change)

Madampu Kunjukuttan in Parinamam (The Change).

Parinamam (The Change) an NFDC film released in 2003 directed by Venu, tackles the age old issue of loneliness and redundancy among the aged. Balakrishna Marar played by Madampu Kunjukuttan, faces callous treatment from his family after his retirement. Parallel to his story is that of the mentally disturbed and lonely former judge Damodaran Nambeeshan played by Nedumudi Venu, who goes to Kashi in search of peace. There are five other senior citizens whose problems form the basis of the film. The story revolves around the lives of these characters, who lose everything they hold dear, feel rejected, and develop a feeling of being a burden on their respective families and society. The film was shown in 2003 in the Malayalam Film Festival Dubai, Chennai International Film Festival, and the Indian Panorama Film Festival. In 2005, the film won the Best Screenplay Award at Ashdod International Film Festival held in Israel. In the year 2012-13 Parinamam (The Change) was one of the film NFDC India released under the brand Cinemas of India along with highly acclaimed title, Gandhi by Sir Richard Attenborough and Train to Pakistan by Pamela Rooks. Parinamam (The Change) has been recently showcased in the Indian Film Festival in Budapest (7–12 February 2014), celebrating the 100 years of Indian Cinema and was also the first Malayalam film to be shown in Hungary with Hungarian sub-titles.Parinamam (The Change) has been showcased in The XXX International Festival Sarajevo, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Sarajevo Winter 2014 in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Feb 7–21 March 2014), held under the motto Peace, Art, Freedom.


Venu died due to a cardiac arrest on May 25, 2011 at his residence in Shenoy Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. His body was cremated at Cheruthuruthy on the banks of Bharathapuzha, Shornur, Kerala.




Further reading

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