More than five decades after he made his silver screen debut, renowned actor Madhu remains etched in the minds of cinemagoers thanks to the multi-faceted roles he essayed as actor, director and producer.
On Thursday, the veteran actor was felicitated in a glittering function held at Fine Arts Hall here, to mark his golden jubilee in the film industry.
Speaking on the occasion, poet O.N.V. Kurup said Madhu was among the most respected actors Malayalam film industry has ever seen. Coming together of the entire Malayalam film fraternity to felicitate him and the unanimous opinion across the State that he should have been conferred the Padma Shri long before indicate the immense respect and love he commands, he said.
Writer M.T. Vasudevan Nair said Madhu’s ability to live in the hearts of the people was more important than any award.
Earlier, Minister for Excise and Ports K. Babu inaugurated the function organised jointly by Macta, Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce, Kerala Film Producers Association, Film Distributors’ Federation, Film Exhibitors Federation, Film Exhibitors Association, Kerala State Film Academy, Kerala State Film Development Corporation, Kerala State Cultural Welfare Board, AMMA, and Fefka.
Born to R. Parameswaran Pillai and Thankamma on September 28, 1933 at Gowreeshapattom in Thiruvananthapuram, Madhavan Nair was a postgraduate in Hindi.
Though the youngster landed up a job as a lecturer in Hindi at a Nagercoil college, he could not stay away from the fascinating world of cinema and enrolled at the National School of Drama to learn acting. Madhu, who owes his screen name to actor Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, began his film career in award-winning director Ramu Kariat’s ‘Moodupadam’. But his first film to hit the screen was the much acclaimed national award winning movie ‘Ninamanija Kalpadukal’ released in 1963.
Madhu cruised to the big league after Ramu Kariat handed him the role of the Pareekutty in the President’s gold medal winning film ‘Chemmeen’ in 1966. The actor earned applause from the audience and appreciation from the critics for his portrayal of the lovelorn youngster in the critically-acclaimed movie.
‘Chemmeen’ also made Madhu one of the most sought after actors in the south Indian film industry. He was already a successful actor in 1969 when he acted in ‘Saath Hindustani’ that marked the debut of actor Amitabh Bachan.
His ability to transform on screen to portray the various emotions of the common man and his impressive dialogue delivery made him one of the most sought-after actors of the time. Some of his memorable roles include Basheer in ‘Bhargavinilayam’, Baputty in ‘Olavum Theeravum’ and Mayin in ‘Ummacchu’.
In recent times, Madhu has mostly essayed patriarchal roles in ‘Naran’ and ‘Karyasthan’. His off-beat role in director Ranjith’s latest flick ‘Spirit’ as Captain Nambiar was also well received by the audience.
Madhu’s passion for cinema was not confined to acting alone. The director in him gained public attention through the film ‘Priya’ (1970) in which he also played the villain’s role. The film won the State award for the second best film. He also went on to direct and produce numberous other movies.
Madhu also founded the Uma Studios in Thiruvananthapuram.
In 2004, the Kerala government honoured him with the J.C. Daniel Lifetime Achievement Award. Even though many had voiced support for national recognition for the thespian, the Padma Shri award came at the age of 79 to one of the finest actors in the Malayalam film industry.