Innocent is an Indian actor, writer, and politician. He is known for starring in comedic roles in the Malayalam film industry. Apart from that, he also works in the Hindi, English, Tamil, and Kannada film industries. He served as the MP from Chalakudy from 2014 to 2019.
Innocent Vareed Thekkethala was born on Saturday, 28 February 1948 (age 75 years; as of 2023) in Irinjalakuda, Thrissur, Travancore-Cochin (now Kerala), India.
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
He belongs to a Catholic family hailing from Irinjalakuda, Kerala.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Vareed Thekkethala, and his mother’s name is Margaret. Innocent has seven siblings. He is the fifth child of his parents and has two elder brothers and sisters.
Wife & Children
In 1976, he got married to Alice. He has a son, Sonnet Parppidam (Sonnet Innocent).
Innocent (actor) follows Christianity.
In 1972, he made his acting debut with Malayalam film Nrithasala in which he played a blink-and-miss role of a news reporter.
In 1982, he came into the limelight with the film Ilakkangal in which he played the role of Devassikutty. The film was adapted from a literary work by M Raghavan. He gained popularity for playing the comedic role of Mannar Mathai, the owner of Urvasi Theatre, in Ramji Rao Speaking (1989). He played villainous roles in Mazhavilkavadi (1989), Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu (1988), and Ganamela (1991). He rose to prominence for his trademark mannerisms and for speaking with an accent unique to the people of Thrissur.
In 1979, he was elected as the Municipal Councillor of Irinjalakuda; he served in that capacity till 1982. He contested the municipal council elections as a CPM-backed candidate. Innocent contested and won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency as an LDF-backed independent candidate. The CPM lend support to the comic film actor.
From 2003 to 2018, Innocent served as the president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), a guild of Malayalam artists. Besides acting, Innocent produced various Malayalam films. He has co-produced the films Ormakkai (1982) and Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flashback (1983).
Unwarranted Remarks on Casting Couch
In 2017, he stirred controversy by commenting about the casting couch in the Malayalam film industry, saying that ‘bad’ actresses might share ‘the bed’ at will. In an interaction with the media, he denied the existence of casting couch in the Malayalam cinema, saying,
Those days are long gone. The moment you make an imprudent request to a woman in this day and age, it will be shared with people like you. They will speak about it openly…But if the women are bad, they may share the bed.”
Innocent received immense criticism for his remarks. The Women In Cinema Collective (WCC), a women-oriented organisation in the Malayalam film industry, criticised the MP in a Facebook post, saying,
New artistes face several forms of sexual abuse while entering the film industry. Even our colleagues, like Parvathy and Lakshmi Rai, have spoken about casting couch openly… We cannot accept the statement that the film industry is free from all kinds of sexual exploitation and there should be cautiousness in making statements in public.”
Later, Innocent took to Facebook to defend himself and said that his comments were “reported out of context” by the media. A loose translation of his post in Malayalam reads,
I meant to say that compared to earlier years, there has been a healthy and women-friendly change in the environment in the film industry. I never said that there is no anti-woman factor in the film industry. It is a reality that certain social evils are present in the film industry like our society. AMMA will continue to work towards eliminating any kind of anti-woman practice in the industry. Media should refrain from focusing on words that are separated out of context.”
Awards, Honours, Achievements
Kerala State Film Awards
- 1989 – Second Best Actor – Mazhavil Kavadi
- 1981 – Second Best Film (Producer) – Vida Parayum Munpe
- 1982 – Second Best Film (Producer) – Ormakkayi
Kerala State Film Critics Award
- 2009 – Best Actor – Patham Nilayile Theevandi
Asianet Film Award
- 2001 – Supporting Actor Award – Ravanaprabhu
- 2004 – Supporting Actor Award – Vesham
- 2006 – Best Actor in a Comic Role – Rasathanthram, Yes Your Honour
- 2008 – Supporting Actor Award – Innathe Chintha Vishayam
- 2010 – Character Actor Award -Kadha Thudarunnu
- 2011 – Character Actor Award -Snehaveedu, Swapna Sanchari
- 2013 – Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2004 – Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor – Malayalam for Manassinakkare
- 2007 – Sathyan Award
- 2008 – Annual Malayalam Movie Award (Dubai) for Outstanding Performance
- 2013 – TTK Prestige-Vanitha Film Awards – Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2019 –He is Distributing Awards Realtors Investors Summit
Assets & Properties
- Cash: Rs 10,000
- Deposits in Banks: Rs 2,31,02,896
- Motor Vehicles: Rs 57,50,000
- Jewellery: Rs 2,24,200
- Other assets: Rs 2,89,167
Note: The given estimates of moveable and immovable assets are as per the financial year 2018-2019. It does not include the assets owned by his wife and dependents.
- Non-Agricultural Land: Rs 1,72,00,000
- Residential Buildings: Rs 60,00,000
His net worth in 2019 was Rs 5,19,06,263. It does not include the net worth of his wife and dependents.
- During his struggling days, he would sleep on a mat with many others on the floor of Uma Lodge, Kodambakkam. Sometimes, he even took his wife, Alice, and son there so that he could spend some time with them. Initially, as he struggled to make the ends meet, his family lived in a quaint one-room house.
- He suffers from throat cancer. His wife, Alice, too was diagnosed with cancer.
- Innocent had to pledge his wife’s gold ornaments in order to finance the film Vida Parayum Munpe (1981).
- 2020 was the only year after 1980 in which Innocent didn’t appear in any film as he was undergoing treatment for cancer.
- Vallathol Narayana Menon is his favourite poet.