8 April 1914|
Aranmula, Kerala, India
|Died||21 February 2011
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
|Spouse(s)||Kochu Krishna Pilla|
|Children||Rajamma , Rajashekharan|
|Parent(s)||Malethu Kesava Pillai
|Awards||2006 - J.C. Daniel Award for Lifetime Achievement|
Aranmula Ponnamma (8 April 1914 – 21 February 2011) was a National Award winning Malayalam film actress known for her roles as mother of the protagonist in numerous films. She was widely described as a mother figure in Malayalam cinema.
Ponnamma was born as one of five children of Malethu Kesava Pillai and Parukutty Amma in Aranmula, Pathanamthitta, Travancore. She has four siblings, Ramakrishna Pilla, Pankiyamma, Bhaskara Pilla, Thankamma. She started her career at the age of 12 as a Carnatic music vocalist. She began by singing before meetings organised by the Hindu Mahamandal on the banks of the Pampa river. At the age of 15, she was appointed as a music teacher in a primary school in Pala, before starting to teach in the senior classes. Later she joined the first batch of students at the Swati Tirunal Music Academy. After the course, she was appointed as the music teacher in Cotton Hill Girls' High School in Trivandrum.
She is married to Late Kochu Krishna Pilla. The couple have a son, Rajashekharan and a daughter, Rajamma.
Ponnamma's acting debut happened at the age of 29, in a play titled Bhagyalakshmi. She went on to act in plays such as Prasanna, Chechi, Jeevithayathra and Rakthabandham, before debuting in films. Her debut role was that of the mother of the character played by Miss Kumari, a prominent actress at that time, in Sasidharan (1950). The same year she did another role as a mother in the Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair starrer Amma, which was the first film of noted producer T. E. Vasudevan and also the 18th Malayalam film. In 1968, she acted in the film Viruthan Shanku directed by P. Venu, the first full-length comedy in Malayalam cinema. She was typecasted in mother roles. In her own words: "I did play a negative role in Paadunna Puzha and that of a wayward woman in Yachakan. But after that I was always cast as the mother. As the mother of two children, I was very comfortable in that role. My role model was my mother, Parukutty Amma, who had to look after her five children on her own after my father, Malethu Kesava Pillai, passed away when I was nine. In fact, in Amma, my fifth film, I was merely acting as my mother." In her career spanning over 60 years, she acted as the mother or grandmother of first generation actors like Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair, second generation actors like Prem Nazir and Sathyan and third generation actors like Mammootty, Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi.
- 1998 : Lifetime Achievement Award
- Akashadoothu (Surya TV)
- Notice of Aranmula Ponnamma's death
- Aranmula Ponnamma profile
- Excerpt from www.thehindujobs.com
- "Aranmula Ponnamma dies at 96". Deccan Herald. 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- "Aranmula Ponnamma dies". Kerala: The Indian Express. 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- "Aranmula Ponnamma passes away". Kerala: "SansCinema". 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
- IMDb Profile
- Aranmula Ponnamma at MSI
- Malayalamcinema.com profile
- Aranmula Ponnamma Mother of Malayalam Cinema Died