A birthday and a trip down memory lane

Filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan felicitating actor Madhu at a function in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday to celebrate the actor’s 86th birthday. Minister for Culture A.K. Balan and Sreekumaran Thampi look on.   | Photo Credit: S MAHINSHA

Birthdays have been private affairs for actor Madhu, but on Monday, the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club decided to turn his 86th birthday into a grand celebration, with many who worked with him over the decades in attendance, along with his friends, family and fans. The launching of a website – – chronicling his journey, as part of the function, became an occasion to reminisce some of the moments from his career.

Among the many such memories played out on the screen was the first scene of his career, from the 1963 film Ninamaninja Kalpadukal, in which he as an Army officer is seen almost ragging his junior, played by Prem Nazir. The crowd erupted in laughter when the image of the first advertisement he acted in (was also one of the first advertisements starring an actor in Malayalam) appeared on screen. It was an ad for a cigarette brand, showing him smoking with a swagger. Not many also knew about the comic series CID Madhu, serialised over 90 issues in the magazine ‘Chithrarama’.

Culture Minister A.K. Balan, who inaugurated the event, lauded him for being a part of many films which played a part in driving the newly formed State in a progressive direction.

“In the 90 years of Malayalam cinema, Madhu has been there for 57 years, as an actor, director and producer. He found for himself a place in the hearts of the Malayali audience with a varied array of characters. He always found himself in the company of filmmakers and writers who played a key role in making good cinema without commercial ambitions,” said Mr. Balan.

Choice of directors

Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who made his debut with Swayamvaram with Madhu as the male lead, said that he was someone whom many new directors preferred in that era.

“Many aspiring directors used to approach him first, because he was someone who could speak to them in their own wavelength, and not as a star. He is also someone who had formal training in acting, unlike most other stars,” he said.

Sreekumaran Thampi, in 11 of whose 30 films Madhu was the male lead, said that he was someone who was never interested in self-publicity.

Fans associations

“These days, most of the actors have fans associations. Long ago, when some people approached Madhu with the idea of a fans association, he discouraged them. He had complete belief in his talent. It is people who are insecure who project themselves,” he said.

Madhu’s son-in-law P. Krishnakumar said that Mr. Thampi and several others helped out in collecting materials, including photographs, as the actor himself did not have much of a collection.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 11:36:25 AM |

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