Acclaimed Malayalam actor Nedumudi Venu died on Monday in Thiruvananthapuram. Venu was 73. The cause of death was a liver-related ailment, according to The Hindu.

Venu was born Kesavan Venugopal Nair on May 22, 1948, in Nedumudi in Alappuzha. After stints as a journalist and a teacher, he began appearing in plays and later moved to films, beginning with G Aravindan’s Thampu in 1978. His career spanned a little over four decades, and yielded, most recently, roles in the anthology films Aanum Pennum and Navarasa.

Vennu worked with some of Malayalam cinema’s most renowned directors, including AG Aravindan, Bharathan, Fazil, P Padmarajan and KG George. Venu had several Tamil credits too – Rajiv Menon’s Sarvam Thaala Mayam (2019) draws on Venu’s mridangam playing skills real life. But Venu’s reputation rests on the scores of films – numbering over 500 – made in his native tongue.

Venu won awards for his performances in such films as Chamaram, Bharatham, Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam, Thenmavin Kombath, His Highness Abdullah, Margam and Arimpara. And he won legions for fans for his unerring ability to portray the full range of humanity, whatever the size and shape of the role.

Among his most recent unrealised films is Priyadarshan’s historical Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham. He is survived by his wife TR Susheela and sons Unni and Kannan.