Mela Raghu – Malayalam film actor of ‘Mela’ fame

Mela Raghu was a Malayalam film actor, best known for playing lead role in Malayalam movie, based on circus, Mela, released in the 1980s. He played supporting roles in Malayalam movies like Sanchari, Kaakkothi Kaavile Appooppan Thaadikal, Oru Indian Pranaya Katha and was last seen in Drishyam 2. He also shared screen space with Kamal Hassan in popular Tamil movie, Apoorva Sahodarangal. He was admitted in a hospital in Kochi on April 16, after he collapsed at home. He passed away on 4th May, 2021 aged 60. He was tested Covid Positive while he was undergoing treatment.

He started his professional career as a clown in circus

Mela Raghu hailed from Chenganur, and was residing in Cherthala for last 35 years till his death. He was married to Shyamala and has one daughter Shilpa. Since childhood he loved art more than studies, and hence joined circus without informing parents during his college days. As he was short, he became a clown and he was fascinated with the costumes and colourful world. Later he turned a famous clown of ‘Bharat Circus’.

During school days he participated in mono act, school dramas etc. He completed SSLC with low marks and joined college. During college days too, he was mostly drawn towards art and reached the world of circus which earned him livelihood.

Mammootty played second lead to Mela Raghu in Mela

He marked his screen debut in lead role in K. G. George’s Mela in 1980. His entry to films is nothing short of a fictional film. He was spotted drinking tea in a restaurant by G. George and Sreenivasan, who offered him the lead role in the movie. Being short, his character got noticed as he played full-length role as the protagonist in the role. Anjali Naidu played his wife in this film. After that he mostly played less-significant roles, and hence switched to circus and theatre.

After his debut flick, he waited for some time to get good roles and he returned to his circus as he couldn’t revive his acting career. Remuneration he earned was very less and he got into theatre as well. He acted in more than 30 movies. Yet he failed to make a mark as a successful actor in film industry. He has also appeared in a few TV serials. His role as a dwarf in Apoorva Sahodarangal is memorable.

Mela Raghu – Some interesting and less-known facts

1. His real name is Puthanveli Sasidharan. He was rechristened Raghu for his debut film by its director, and ‘Mela’ tag got added to his name after his role in the movie became popular.

2. He played lead role in K. G. George’s Mela, where Mammootty played second lead. Actor Sreenivasan also played a noted role in this film.

3. Shortest actor to play protagonist and also a full-length role in 1980 film Mela is his unique achievement. He was the first south Indian actor to achieve this feat. (In an interview, Raghu says he is the first short hero in Asian films)

4. Actor Mammootty helped him to get his memorable role in Apoorva Sahodarangal.

5. He played a waiter’s role in his last release, Drishyam 2 released in 2021, sharing screen space with Mohanlal. It was his comeback movie, where he shared screen space with Mohanlal.

6. He played a character in the play, ‘Innalakalile Aakasham’ penned by Francis T Mavelikkara and directed by Pramod Payyannoor for the famous banner, KPAC. It was his first stint with theatre.

7. He appeared in a short film, Marudu in 2016, which is closely linked to his real life and disappointments as an artist.

8. For him, being short is not at all a problem and he believed, he reached heights because of this ‘height’ factor.


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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