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Birth Name: Muhammed Kutty
Date of birth: September 7th, 1953
Mammootty as Muhammed Kutty at Chempu near Vaikom, Kottayam (district, Kerala) is a popular Indian film actor. He has acted in more than 300 films, which is most of them in Malayalam cinema. He is the recipient of 4 National film awards for Best Actor, five State awards and 5 Film fare awards in the “best actor” category. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1998 and he is called as the Super Star of Malayalam Cinema along with Mohanlal. Mammootty is rated as one of the talented actors in Indian film industry. He is also the current Chairman of TV channel Kairali.
He was born to Ismail (an agriculturist) and Fatima (a homemaker). Mammootty has two younger brothers, Ibrahim and Zakariah; and three sisters, Ameena, Sauda and Shafina. Mammootty received his education from Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam and then studied law at Ernakulam Government Law College. It was during his days at Maharajah’s that Mammootty got his first role in Anubhavangal Paalichakal (1971). He practised as a lawyer in Manjeri, Kerala for two years. He got married in 1980 to his wife, Sulfath, and has a daughter, Surmi and a son, Dulquar Salman.
Mammootty first film as an actor, Devalokam (World of Gods), was not released in theatres. Famous writer and auteur M. T. Vasudevan Nair and Film director K. G. George played an important part in his career. Mammootty’s talent was noticed in films like Vilkanundu Swapnangal directed by M T Vasudevan Nair and films like Mela and Yavanika, by K.G George.
One thing that sets him apart from his contemporaries is the fact that from the beginning itself, he has been able to treat both art-house cinema and commercial potboilers with ease. He made his mark during the early period of his career itself by enacting roles in films of stalwarts like M. T. Vasudevan Nair, K.G. George, Padmarajan, P.N. Menon, and Bharathan. Later on his talent was utilized by internationally renowned directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, T. V. Chandran, and Pavithran. Mammootty was a regular in movies of Harikumar, Mohan, et al. The movies by M.T. Vasudevan Nair and Padmarajan, arguably among the best of Malayalam writer-directors, widened Mammootty’s acting horizon.
It may be mentioned that two of M.T. Vasudevan’s movies which bear his autobiographical elements were enacted by Mammootty – Aksharangal and Sukrutham (Harikumar).
The film New Delhi, directed by Joshy, was a turning point in his career and the film was based on the novel, “The Almighty” by Irving Wallace. The hero’s portrayal of a victimized journalist, who systematically took revenge on politicians who beguiled him, was noticed and well accepted well by the masses. By then he had achieved superstardom.
His, Oru CBI Diary kurippu, was also a major landmark in the history of Malayalam Cinema. It brought to fore a new concept of an investigative thriller, fresh presentation of politicians and above all a refreshing idea of the hero.The film went on to create box-office history in Kerala.
Following the success of the first CBI film three more murder mysteries sequels were produced with the same cast of characters: Jaagrutha (1989), Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004) and Nerariyan C.B.I (2005, all directed by K Madhu, with Mammootty as Sethurama Iyer, an efficient but unassuming CBI officer.
He touched the pinnacle of his career in [[Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha]] (roughly translated as ‘A northern heroic folklore’), again an M. T. Vasudevan Nair creation. His depiction of a Chekavan of distinguished velour but vilified by circumstances won him the top honors of the country, National Award for best acting. His histrionics matched the literary genius of M. T. in each and every minute detail.
It was his acting talent, coupled with his willingness to go to any extent to rationally portray the roles that enabled him to act in both offbeat and commercial movies.
He became almost a regular face in Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s films. Mammootty starred in three of his movies, Anantharam(’Thenceforth’), Mathilukal(’Walls’) and Vidheyan (’The Servile’) and the easiness with which he illustrated on screen the protagonist in Mathilukkal(based on Mathilukal, a novel by the Malayalam literary genius Vaikom Muhammad Basheer) was also instrumental in getting him his first National Award for Best Actor. His performance in two commercially off-beat movies, Ponthan Mada by TV Chandran, and Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Vidheyan won him the award for the second time. His performance in “Ambedkar”, an English movie by Jabbar Patel, won him the National award for a third time. Mammootty is also a recipient of Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian awards in India.
Mammootty had briefly crossed the boundaries of Malayalam cinema and acted in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi films. Though he proved that only a moderate success in Tamil after Mani Ratnam’s Thalapathi, his fan following is on par with other Tamil film stars. Mammootty’s notable successes in Tamil include Anandam by Linguswamy and Kandukondain Kandukondain by Rajiv Menon. Unfortunationaly however, his maiden Hindi film, Dhartiputra went unnoticed. Mammootty, nonetheless made his presence felt on the national level with the biographical film on Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Directed by Jabbar Patel.
All though he has been criticised as unable to portray comic roles, his latest movies Rajamanikyam, Thommanum Makkalum, and Thuruppugulan gave a fitting reply to critics. He, though a hugely popular star, is an exception in Indian films where dancing skills have to be a necessary part of an actor’s repertoire but the emotion and the depth that he lends to his characters makes him a well revered actor and makes up for his shortcomings.