Madhu (actor)

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Madhu 2008.jpg
Madhu in 2008
Madhavan Nair

(1933-09-23) 23 September 1933 (age 90) [1]
Gowreesapattom, [2] Kingdom of Travancore, British India
(present day Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India)
Alma mater
  • Actor
  • Director
  • Producer
Years active1963 – Present
(died 2014)
Children1 (Dr. Uma)
  • R.Parameswaran Pillai
  • Thankamma Pillai
Awards J. C. Daniel Award (2004)
Padma Shri (2013) [3]

Madhavan Nair, commonly known by his stage name Madhu, is an Indian actor, director, producer, former college lecturer and former film studio owner, who works in Malayalam cinema and a certain number of Hindi and Tamil films. [4] [5] He was a prominent lead actor during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and has acted in more than 400 films. Madhu has also directed 12 films, produced 15 films and at one time owned the Uma Film Studio. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2013 for his contributions towards the arts. He was honored with the J. C. Daniel Award by the Government of Kerala in 2004, for his outstanding contributions to Malayalam films. [6] He is the president of Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) Kerala Unit. [7] [8] [9]


Mini, a children's movie produced by him, bagged the Indira Gandhi National Award for Best Film on Family Welfare, at the 43rd National Film Awards in 1995. He is the inaugural winner of the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Malayalam for his performance in Swayamvaram (1972), and has received three more Filmfare awards and is also the recipient of five Kerala State Film Awards. Madhu starred Chemmeen won the President's Gold Medal for the All India Best Feature Film in 1965, becoming the first Malayalam film to win the title.

Personal life

He was born on 23 September 1933 at Gowreesapattom in the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore. His father, R. Parameswaran Pillai (hailed from Padmanabhapuram, Thuckalay), [10] was the erstwhile Mayor of Trivandrum and his mother Thankamma Pillai was a housewife. [11] He has four sisters. He had his primary schooling up to the fourth standard at Kunnukuzhi L.P School, fifth class (preparatory) at S. M. V. School, 1st form to 3rd form at Pettah Middle School and fourth form to sixth form (SSLC) at St. Joseph's High School. He did pre university degree from Mahatma Gandhi College and graduation in Hindi from University College. He did his post graduation in Hindi from Banaras Hindu University (BHU). [12] [13]

He was married to Jayalakshmi till her death in 2014. They have a daughter Uma. [14] [15]


He started his career as a Hindi lecturer in S. T. Hindu College and then Scott Christian College at Nagercoil. [16] [17] [18] During that time he chanced upon a newspaper advertisement inviting applications for the National School of Drama course. While studying at NSD, he became acquainted with Ramu Kariat, who offered him a role in his forthcoming film Moodupadam . After completing the course, Madhu went to Chennai to screen test for Karyat's film. While there, in 1963, he was offered a role in N. N. Pisharody's film, Ninamaninja Kalpadukal and this became his debut. [16] In the movie, he portrayed Stephen, a brave soldier of the Indian army who sacrifices his life, on the battle field, for his motherland. The role and the movie were well received by the public. Moodupadam, for which he had come to Chennai for the make up test, became his second film. From thereon, there was no looking back. He has expressed all facets of life through his various acting roles. Perhaps his most notable role during his early career, was in Kariat's Chemmeen , which won the President's Gold Medal. Madhu entered Malayalam cinema at a time when lead roles were dominated by actors like Prem Nazir and Sathyan and created a niche for himself. One of his early films where he made a mark was Bhargavi Nilayam , a suspense movie, where he is the only actor on screen during the first half of the movie. Followed by Udhyogastha , Virunnukari , and Veettu Mrugam , by P. Venu. Madhu has brought to life on screen, memorable characters from the works of eminent writers in Malayalam; Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, Thakazhi, P. Kesavadev, Uroob, Ponkunnam Varkey, S. K. Pottekkatt, Changampuzha, M. T. Vasudevan Nair, G. Vivekanandan, N. N. Pisharody and C. Radhakrishnan, to name a few.

In an acting career spanning over five decades, Madhu acted in over 370 films. [19] Although he was a big star in commercial films, he was generous enough to act in parallel movies. He acted in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Swayamvaram , P. N. Menon's Olavum Theeravum etc.

Madhu also proved his talents as a film maker and director. His first directorial venture Priya released in 1970, was a trend setter in Malayalam. [16] The film won the Kerala Government award for the second best film that year. Madhu directed twelve movies including hit films like ‘ Sindooracheppu ’, ‘Manya Shree Vishwamitran’, ‘ Neela Kannukal , ‘ Akkaldama ’, ' Kamam Krodham Moham ’, ‘ Theekanal ’, ‘ Dheerasameere Yamunathere ’, ‘ Aaradhana ’, ‘ Oru Yuga Sandhya ’ and ‘ Udayam Padinjaru ’. He was the producer of most of these films. He produced fifteen movies including ‘ Kaithapoo ’, ‘ Asthamayam ’, ‘Shudhi Kalasham’, ‘ Prabhatha Sandhya ’, ‘ Vaiki Vanna Vasantham ’, ‘ Archana Teacher ’, ‘ Grihalakshmi ’, ‘ Njan Ekananu ’, ‘ Rathilayam ’ and Mini . He also produced and directed a movie in English ‘Sunrise in the West’, which was shot entirely in the USA. He was instrumental in introducing a number of talented actors, directors, lyricists, producers, singers and other technicians to the Malayalam filmdom. He was the owner of once-renowned Uma studio at Puliyarakonam in Thiruvananthapuram. [16] Mini produced by Madhu won the National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare, at the 43rd National Film Awards in 1995. The film focuses on the social issue of alcoholism.

Madhu was one of the lead actors in the Hindi film Saat Hindustani , which was the debut movie of the Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan in 1969. [16] His other Hindi films are ‘Chakachak’ directed by Sai Paranjpye and Maiyya directed by Anil.

Madhu has also done three Tamil films, as Rajinikanth's father in Dharma Dorai , Oru Ponnu Oru Paiyan and Bharatha Vilas .


Madhu has so far acted in more than 400 movies including Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil languages and directed 12 movies. [20]


Civilian Awards
National Film Award
Kerala State Film Award
Kerala Film Critics Association Awards
Filmfare Awards South
Other awards

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