Actor Innocent and wife Alice had the packed audience at the Kanakakkunnu place grounds in splits with one-liners at the session titled Cancer Wardile Chiri, at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters 2019.
The actor spoke about a very serious subject, his and his wife’s tryst with cancer, but even as they spoke about visiting the hospital for radiation every day, it was conveyed through humour.
“We could save some money as we went together for the sessions, and bought medicines in bulk,” was his tongue-in-cheek comment.
The session started off with a joke; apparently, when biographer Sreekanth Kottakkal asked Innocent for his wedding photo, he replied that a crow stole it, which proved to be true.
When asked about his experience with cancer, Innocent replied that if one decides that one is going to die, they will. He himself knew he won’t die so fast, since God ‘’showers prosperity on the cruel’’, he quipped.
Though he asked his family to stay strong and to accept his disease with a smile, when he was told that his wife had the disease, he broke down. Again, in his characteristic style, the actor joked that he was just acting.
Funny anecdotes about how he failed constantly in school but was never ashamed of showing up on the first day of class again sent the audience into hysterics.
Cancer specialist Dr Gangadharan was his classmate so were other successful people, but he has a part to play in their success, he said, as he never tried to influence them. At the same time, he revealed that he liked to head anything he was part of, while Alice calmly observed that she never found her husband intelligent.
Jokes apart, Innocent stressed that a cheerful attitude alone will not cure cancer, and that one needs money and the best care as well. He is well aware that an ordinary person will feel burdened and stressed by the thought of the medical expenses, which will further diminish their chances of recovery, he said, adding that the government should step in in such circumstances.
Amidst all the laughter, when the actor spoke about the moment when he was informed of his disease, and of his wife’s, there was pin drop silence in the hall. “I was shooting for a film, and at that moment, wondered whether I will ever see lights and camera again or my co-stars,” he recalled.