Actor Kundara Johny, who made a mark playing antagonist in several Malayalam films over three decades since the 1980s, passed away at a private hospital in Kollam on Tuesday night. He was 71. Mr. Johny was admitted to the hospital following cardiac arrest.
Mr. Johny’s career in Malayalam cinema was a story of moving up from uncredited roles as one among a group of goons to playing the role of the main villain in many of the mainstream hits of the 1980s and 90s. He made his debut in films in 1979 when he was in his 20s with roles in films such as Agniparvatham and Nithya Vasantham. It would only be a few years and several films later that he would begin to be recognised, with roles in films like Rajavinte Makan and Aavanazhi.
But, for someone known for his villainous roles, his breakout role of the henchman of underworld don Nambiar in Nadodikkattu is one which would be remembered for its humour. That role has attained a life of its own, being featured often these days in Internet memes. He had a substantial role to play in Oru CBI Diary Kurippu in 1988 as Vasu, whose name pops up often in the investigation. The next year, in the classic Kireedam, he played Parameshwaran, the trusted right hand man of Keerikadan Jose, the antagonist. He would reprise the role of Parameswaran in the sequel Chenkol, but this time he played a man who had a change of heart and stands with the protagonist Sethu.
All of his roles were not standout ones, but many of these films had a couple of scenes in which he would make his mark. In Spadikam (1995), much of the glory as the antagonist went to Spadikam George, but as constable Maniyan, Johny had some memorable run-ins with Aadu Thoma and stood his own.
Though he was not as active in the post-millennium years, he did make his presence felt in Bharathchandran IPS and The Tiger. Meppadiyan, released in 2022, was his last film.