Legendary Mimicry Artist Venu Madhav Passes Away At 86

Legendary mimicry artist and ventriloquist Nerella Venu Madhav, known for his unique style of mimicking and singing, passed away on 19 June at his residence in Hanamkonda, after an illness. He was 86.

From mimicking politicians and Nizams to being the first Indian to perform at the UN headquarters, the pioneer’s repertoire in mimicry had travelled across lands.

Narella Venu Madhav, popularly known as NV, was born in Mattewada in Warangal in 1932. He’s regarded as the father of Indian mimicry. He started his career as a mimicry artiste at the age of 16. He imitated actors and politicians without faltering, and rose to immense popularity. Venu Madhav acted in the 1966 Telugu film, Gudachari 116, starring Krishna and Jayalalithaa.

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Language was no barrier as NV performed in various languages like English, Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. He would imitate several national icons including Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subash Chandrabose with ease, and actors like NT Rama Rao and SV Ranga Rao.

His act from ‘Mackenna’s Gold’ is considered his best ever.

Venu Madhav was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri in 2001. The Indian Postal Department had also released a postal stamp in his name on his birthday last year.

Owing to his celebrity status, he was nominated to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council from 1972 to 1978.

Expressing condolences, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao hailed him as one of the finest mimicry artistes the country had seen.

YSR Congress party president, YS Jaganmohan Reddy said Venu Madhav’s death is an irreparable loss for the entire Telugu community. He said the artiste who could imitate Hollywood actors and speak in several regional languages had inspired hundreds of artistes.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)

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