Madhavan Nair, commonly known by his stage name Madhu is an actor in Malayalam cinema. He was a prominent lead actor during the 60s and 70s. He has also donned successfully the roles of a film director, producer and at one time owned a film studio.
He was born on 23 September 1933. His father, R.Parameswaran Pillai was a well known personality and was a Mayor of the Thiruvananthapuram City.
He started his career as a Hindi lecturer in Scott Christian College, Nagercoil. During that time he chanced upon the a newspaper advertisement inviting applications for the National School of Drama Course. While studying at NSD, he got acquainted with Ramu Karyat, who offered him a role in his upcoming film Moodupadam. After completing the course, Madhu went to Chennai for the make up test for Ramu Karyat's film. There he got an unexpected film offer and he made his debut in the film, Ninmaninja Kalpadukal directed by N N Pisharody in 1963.
Madhu also acted in Hindi film Saat Hindustani, which was the debut movie of the prominent Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan. He acted as a Bengali in the film.
He had expressed all faces of life through his various movie characters. But his best was the performance in Chemmeen. Ramu Karyat directed Chemmeen and also received the President's Gold Medal for it. It was based on Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai's novel. The tragic character Pareekkutty was perfectly safe in the hands of Madhu. He expressed all the nuances of this delicate character smoothly. Pareekkutty brought a big break in his acting career. At the time it was common for a Malayali person to render the dialogs (in the movie) of Pareekkutty.
Later he distinguished himself as producer, director and storywriter. The screen name of Madhu was given by Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair, another famous Malayalam Actor. In an acting career spanning four decades, Madhu acted in over 300 films. But initial years were of struggle as Madhu entered Malayalam Cinema while Prem Nazir and Sathyan, two great stars, were ruling the roost. Later Madhu captured his own place. Later he was lucky to pursue his profession with many generations like Sukumaran-M G Soman, Mammooty-Mohanlal, Dileep, Jayaram.
Though a well-known actor he was always simple and honest in life. Even though he was a big star in commercial film, he was generous enough to act in parallel movies. He acted in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Swayamvaram, P. N. Menon's Olavum Theeravum etc. Madhu's directorial venture Priya was a trend setter in Malayalam. In this movie he experimented with the main character playing an anti-hero. Madhu later directed about 14 films. He was the owner of once-renowned Uma studio. Madhu produced a movie Mini in 1995, which got National Award.
Madhu has also done a couple of Tamil films, as Rajinikanth 's father in Dharma Dorai and the 2007 release Oru Ponnu Oru Paiyan.
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