Abi was a talented artiste who entered the film industry through mimicry. He first came to Kochi Kalabhavan as an artiste and that opened the doors to cinema. Imitating film stars was the masterpiece item of Abi.
Abi has mimicked Mammootty, Mohanlal, Amitabh Bachchan, Mithun Chakravarti, Sankaradi and many other leading film stars and politicians. There is no other mimicry artist in Malayalam who imitated Amitabh Bachchan so perfectly. People have even called Abi as the Javed Jaffrey of Malayalam.
Abi, originally Habeeb Muhammad, is one of the many actors who made their career in Malayalam film industry through their stage performances in mimicry. He has worked as a mimicry artist with the troops such as Kalabhavan, Harisree and Kochin Sagar. Apart from the stage shows, he had also released several popular audio cassettes.
Abi has also worked with other mimicry troupes like Kochin Oscar and his own troupe Kochin Sagar. Famous actors like Dileep, Kalabhavan Mani, Nadirsha, Harisree Asokan and Shiyas were his co-stars in the troupes. Their mimicry audio cassettes like ‘Onathinidakk Puttu Kachodam’ and Dhe Maveli Kombath’ were some of the hit in Malayalam.
His character of Amina Thatha, which he played on several stages, was a sure crowd puller.
Though his golden era of performance was in the 90’s, Abi was active in the field even after that. He has stunned the audience through mimicry shows in native and foreign places. His entry into film was through the Mammootty starrer film ‘Nayam Vyakthamakkunnu’ in 1992. He created riotous laughter in the theatres through his combination with Jagadeesh.
Later, he also played noted roles in films like Bheeshmacharya, Ellarum Chollanu, Cheppu Kilukkana Changathi, Sainyam, Mazhavilkoodaram, Valsalyam, Aanappara Achamma, Porter, Rasikan, Vardhakya Puranam and Kireedamillatha Rajakkanmar. He shone in both character roles and comedy roles in films.
Abi is survived by his wife Sunila, two daughters — Ahana and Aleena — and son, Shane Nigam, who is also an emerging actor in the Malayalam film industry. His funeral will be held on 1 December, according to reports.