A legend in his own right



S.R.Ashok Kumar

Despite a career spanning over a 1,000 films, M.N. Nambiar is still a down-to-earth man

M.N. Nambiar is a veteran and legend. He is one of the oldest actors but is still active. He always remains humble despite having worked with seven generations of actors. Nambiar recalls the long history of his career and his favourite stars.

I am a humble and God fearing person. I am completely opposite to the villains that I have portrayed all these years. I have never got angry with anyone. One can call me a `sadhu.'

I was born on March 7, 1919. My friends and relatives celebrated my birthday a few days ago with a pooja.

When I was 13, I joined Nawab Rajamanikkam's troupe because of my interest in acting. From then on acting has been the only thing that has occupied me. My first film was `Bhaktha Ramadoss' shot in 1935 in Hindi and Tamil, where I played a villian. Till now, I have worked with seven generations of actors from Balaiyah to Manoj (Bharathiraaja's son). It has been a happy journey for me and I hope that people also like me on the screen.

My first pay was Rs.3 in the "Boys Company." I would retain Re 1 and send Rs.2 to my mother. My needs are very limited. I do not eat outside and a pure vegetarian. I am health conscious.

A majority of the more than 1000 films that I have done is from Tamil, though I have acted in Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi, besides an English film `Jungle' (with Rod Cameron, the film's hero, directed by William Burke). The film was released in 1952. The Hindi film, in which I acted, was the remake of the Tamil `Kanavane Kankanda Deivam.'

After becoming popular in Tamil films I started my own drama troupe called Nambiar Nataka Mandram. We staged two plays `Kaviyin Kanavu' and a comedy play `Kalyana Supermarket.'

Everyone knows I am an ardent devotee of Sabarimala Sri Ayyappan. Till now I have gone 65 times apart from visits for the monthly poojas.

My favourite films remain `Aayirathil Oruvan' with MGR, `Ambikapathi' with Sivaji Ganesan, `Missiyamma' with Gemini Ganesan, `Nenjam Marappathillai' directed by Sridhar and `Thooral Ninu Pochu' with Bhagyaraj. This was the film that made me do character roles, something that I continue to do till now. Another film I cannot forget is `Thigambarasamiyar' where I did 11 roles. I also acted as hero in two films `Kalyani' and `Kavitha' produced by Modern Theatres.

I have done stage, films and also serials such as `Velan.' When it comes to acting, I like all the actors; but if you insist I will mention M.R.Radha and Savithri. Both are brilliant in their own way.

Recommended for you