Cochin Haneefa or VMC Haneefa is an actor we see often in many movies. We laugh at his jokes, we enjoy his performances but at the end of the day, we forget that he played a crucial role in the movie. We have known him for his prowess in comedy in many films. He manages to tickle our bones with his accented dialogue delivery, expressions and excellent comic timings. The characters such as the minister in Sivaji the boss, Traffic cop in Enthiran, Small-time thug Chellapandi in Kireedam and as a translator in Madarasapattinam are few of his evergreen performances. These are the performances which we cannot skip in the movie although it comes just for a few minutes. But What I am going to talk about in this post is his performances beyond those comedies.
As a trained actor from Kalabhavan, he has acted many movies in Malayalam. He is not only an actor but also a brilliant writer and director. Although we remember him for his comedic chops, he has done some great villain roles in Malayalam and Tamil before taking up these comedic roles. I wish to talk about some of the performances that show his prowess as an actor in Tamil.
The first role I wish to talk about is the role of Dhanush, a con man in Mahanadhi. The movie says the story of Krishnaswamy, a widower living happily with his kids and mother law in his native village, moves to the city to start a Chit Fund business with Dhanush to earn more and is conned by Dhanush. This topples the world of Krishna and what happens next forms the rest of the story. This is one of the hardest movies to watch due to its dark reality. This is my all-time favourite movie of Kamal Hassan. In the role of Dhanush, Cochin Haneefa shines and captures the cunning mind and selfish act on the screen. His performance is so good and his actions and reactions get you on your nerves.
The next role I wish to talk about is the role of a director in Mugavari. Mugavari says the story of Sridhar, an aspiring music director struggling to get a break. His hardships and losses in the journey forms the rest of the story. This movie shows the realistic struggle of a wannabe composer from a middle-class family and how he has to sacrifice a lot in life. This movie is my favourite Ajith Kumar movie. His subtle performance as Sridhar is one of his best. Cochin Haneefa plays the role of an egoistic director who ill-treats Sridhar. You can very well see the cold-hearted portrayal in few scenes the movie.
The Last negative role which I am going to speak in this post is of Babloo’s father in Vaaname Ellai. This 1992 film directed by K. Balachandar talks about five people who got dejected with their lives and plan to end their lives together. In a turn of events, how their lives are changed forms the rest of the movie. One of the five characters is Babloo Prithviraj. He loves Suguna, a computer operator working in his father’s office. But Babloo’s father wants him to get married to a Rich family as his and to avoid this marriage from happening, he marries the widowed mother of Suguna to make her stepsister to Babloo. His portrayal of a Rich businessman obsessed with status is so cold and chilling.
I have spoken a lot of negative characters portrayed by Cochin Haneefa and so I wish to finish it off with a positive role I loved the most. His role as Tea Kadai Giri Chettan in Arai En 305il Kadavul is a perfect one. The movie crowded with comedians and humour, Cochin Haneefa takes the role of a sincere Tea shop owner who is down to earth and lives a frugal life. His interactions with Prakash Raj is not only a treat to watch, it indeed gives you a philosophy to ponder. Thanks to Chimbu Devan for his excellent writing and Cochin Haneefa’s versatility, Giri chettan is etched in the memories forever.
He reprised the role of Haidrose in Kireedam(1989) in its 2007 Tamil remake. He is the only person from the original cast to reprise the role in the movie.
Cochin Haneefa made his Tamil Directorial debut with Paasa Paravaigal, which is a remake of his own film Moonu Maasangalku Munbu. In Tamil remake, he has roped in Kalaignar Karunanidhi to pen the dialogues.
He has portrayed a lot of Villainous roles both in Malayalam and Tamil and later he went on to become a successful comedian in both languages.