23 September 1933
|Alma mater||National School of Drama|
University College Thiruvananthapuram
|Occupation||Film actor, director, producer, former film studio owner|
|Years active||1963 – present|
|Awards||J. C. Daniel Award (2004)|
Padma Shri (2013) 
Madhavan Nair, commonly known by his stage name Madhu, is an Indian film actor, director, producer, and former film studio owner, who works in Malayalam cinema and a certain number of Hindi & Tamil films. He was a prominent lead actor during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and has acted in more than 400 films. Madhu has also directed 12 films, produced 15 films and at one time owned the Uma Film Studio. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2013 for his contributions towards the arts. He was honored with the J. C. Daniel Award by the Government of Kerala in 2004, for his outstanding contributions to Malayalam films.
Mini, a children's movie produced by him, bagged the Indira Gandhi National Award for Best Film on Family Welfare, at the 43rd National Film Awards in 1995. He is the inaugural winner of the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Malayalam for his performance in Swayamvaram (1972), and has received three more Filmfare awards and is also the recipient of five Kerala State Film Awards. Madhu starred Chemmeen won the President's Gold Medal for the All India Best Feature Film in 1965, becoming the first Malayalam film to win the title.
He was born on 23 September 1933 at Gourishapattom, Thiruvananthapuram. His father, R. Parameswaran Pillai, was the erstwhile Mayor of Trivandrum and his mother Thankamma was a housewife. He has four sisters. He had his primary schooling up to the fourth standard at Kunnukuzhi L.P School, fifth class (preparatory) at S. M. V. School, 1st form to 3rd form at Pettah Middle School and fourth form to sixth form (SSLC) at St.Joseph's High School. He did pre university degree from Mahatma Gandhi College and graduation in Hindi from University College. He did his post graduation in Hindi from Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
He started his career as a Hindi lecturer in S. T. Hindu College and then Scott Christian College at Nagercoil. During that time he chanced upon a newspaper advertisement inviting applications for the National School of Drama course. While studying at NSD, he became acquainted with Ramu Karyat, who offered him a role in his forthcoming film Moodupadam. After completing the course, Madhu went to Chennai to screen test for Karyat's film. While there, in 1963, he was offered a role in N N Pisharody's film, Ninamaninja Kalpadukal and this became his debut. In the movie, he portrayed Stephen, a brave soldier of the Indian army who sacrifices his life, on the battle field, for his motherland. The role and the movie were well received by the public. ‘Moodupadam’, for which he had come to Chennai for the make up test, became his second film. From thereon, there was no looking back.
He has expressed all facets of life through his various acting roles. Perhaps his most notable role during his early career, was in Karyat's Chemmeen, which won the President's Gold Medal. Madhu entered Malayalam cinema at a time when lead roles were dominated by actors like Prem Naseer and Sathyan and created a niche for himself. One of his early films where he made a mark was Bhargavi Nilayam, a suspense movie, where he is the only actor on screen during the first half, an extremely difficult task for an actor and that too a newcomer. Madhu has the good fortune of having brought to life on screen, memorable characters from the works of eminent writers in Malayalam; Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, Thakazhi, P. Kesavadev, Uroob, Ponkunnam Varkey, S. K. Pottekkatt, Changampuzha, M. T. Vasudevan Nair, G. Vivekanandan, N. N. Pisharady and C. Radhakrishnan, to name a few.
In an acting career spanning over five decades, Madhu acted in over 370 films. Although he was a big star in commercial films, he was generous enough to act in parallel movies. He acted in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Swayamvaram, P. N. Menon's Olavum Theeravum etc.
Madhu also proved his talents as a film maker and director. His first directorial venture Priya released in 1970, was a trend setter in Malayalam. In this movie he dared to experiment by not taking up the main character role and instead, playing an anti-hero. The film won the Kerala Government award for the second best film that year. Madhu directed twelve movies including hit films like ‘Sindooracheppu’, ‘Manya Shree Vishwamitran’, ‘Neela Kannukal, ‘Akkaldama’, ‘Kamam Krodham Moham’, ‘Theekanal’, ‘Dheerasameere Yamunathere’, ‘Aaradhana’, ‘Oru Yuga Sandhya’ and ‘Udayam Padinjaru’. He was the producer of most of these films. He produced fifteen movies including ‘Kaithapoo’, ‘Asthamayam’, ‘Shudhi Kalasham’, ‘Prabhatha Sandhya’, ‘Vaiki Vanna Vasantham’, ‘Archana Teacher’, ‘Grihalakshmi’, ‘Njan Ekananu’, ‘Rathilayam’ and ‘Mini’. He also produced and directed a movie in English ‘Sunrise in the West’, which was shot entirely in the USA. He was instrumental in introducing a number of talented actors, directors, lyricists, producers, singers and other technicians to the Malayalam filmdom. He was the owner of once-renowned Uma studio at Puliyarakonam in Thiruvananthapuram. Mini produced by Madhu won the National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare, at the 43rd National Film Awards in 1995. The film focuses on the social issue of alcoholism.
Madhu was one of the lead actors in the Hindi film Saat Hindustani, which was the debut movie of the Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan in 1969. His other Hindi films are ‘Chakachak’ directed by Sai Paranjpye and Maiyya directed by Anil.
Awards and accolades
- Padma Awards
- 2013 Padma Shri
- 1995 National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare for Mini (Produced by Madhu) in 1995 (Directed by P. Chandrakumar)
- 2004 J. C. Daniel Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Government of Kerala.
- 1995 Kerala State Film Award for Best Children's Film for Mini (Produced by Madhu) in 1995 (Directed by P. Chandrakumar)
- 1992 Kerala State Film Award (Special Jury Award) in 1992 for Kudumbasametham
- 1980 Kerala State Film Award (Special Jury Award) in 1980 for multiple films
- 1971 Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film for Sindooracheppu (Directed by Madhu) in 1971.
- 1970 Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film for Priya (Directed by Madhu) in 1970.
- 1994 Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South (1994)
- 1977 Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Malayalam – Yuddha Kaandam (1977)
- 1976 Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Malayalam – Theekkanal (1976)
- 1972 Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Malayalam – Swayamvaram (1972) (inaugural winner)
- Other Awards
- 2013 Honored by the President of India during 100 years of Indian Cinema celebration held at Chennai
- 2013 Honour from the Government of Kerala for completing 5 decades in Malayalam film industry
- 2013 Honoured by AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists) for his contributions to the Malayalam film industry, spanning over 50 years
- 2013 Honour from MACTA on completion of 50 years in Malayalam Cinema
- Award from Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, in recognition of his contributions to Malayalam cinema
- MACTA Legends Honour Award
- Sathyan Award 2012
- Prem Nazir Foundation Award
- Ramu Kariat Award
- Dr. Sukumar Azhikode Award
- Thoppil Bhasi Smaraka Prathibha Puraskaram
- P. Bhaskaran Foundation Award
- Thilakan Foundation Award
- Narendra Prasad Puraskaram
- Bahadoor Foundation Award in 2005
- Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai Memorial Award
- Asianet Film Awards 2002 – Best Lifetime Achievement Award
- "J.C. Daniel Award for Madhu". The Hindu. 23 April 2005. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- "Madhu makes Kerala proud". The Hindu. 26 January 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- "Winners of Padma awards function 2013 - 2 Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan and 42 Padma Shree awards presented". The Economic Times. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- Venkiteswaran, C. S. (13 September 2012). "Madhavan Nair: An actor for all. Ninamaninja Kalpadukal was Madhu's first movie. seasons". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- Kurian, Vinson (17 February 2013). "Actor Madhu counts a lot more than two syllables". Business Line. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- "Technology For All". origin.mangalam.com.
- "Kannammoola-Tvpm". Archived from the original on 29 March 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2006.
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- "CINIDIARY - A Complete Online Malayalam Cinema News Portal". cinidiary.com.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Game again for arc lights, but its got to be different: Thespian Madhu (Where Are They Now?)". Outlook. 28 July 2019. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- "Technology For All". origin.mangalam.com.
- "Kerala News : J.C. Daniel Award for Madhu". The Hindu. 23 April 2005. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016.
- "Madhu - Biography". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
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