Muhammad Kutty Panaparambil Ismail (born 7 September 1951), better known by his stage name Mammootty, is an Indian film actor and producer who works predominantly in Malayalam-language cinema. In a career spanning four decades, he has acted in over 400 films, mainly in Malayalam, with several in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and English. He is regarded as one of the greatest actors in Indian cinema.
Muhammad Kutty Panaparambil Ismail
7 September 1951
|Alma mater||Sacred Heart College, Thevara|
Maharaja's College, Ernakulam (B.A.)
Govt. Law College, Ernakulam (L.L.B.)
|Children||2, including Dulquer Salmaan|
|Relatives||Maqbool Salmaan (nephew)|
|Honours||Padma Shri (1998)|
Mammootty initially used the stage name Sajin in his early films. After establishing himself as a lead actor in the 1980s, his major breakthrough came with the commercial success of the 1987 film New Delhi. He has won three National Film Awards for Best Actor, seven Kerala State Film Awards and thirteen Filmfare Awards South. In 1998, the Government of India awarded him the Padma Shri for his contributions to the arts. He has also received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Kerala in January 2010 and from the University of Calicut in December 2010.
Mammootty has appeared in neighbouring industries as well. He entered the Tamil cinema through Mounam Sammadham (1990), in Telugu cinema through Swati Kiranam (1992), in Bollywood through Triyathri though his debut as a lead was in Dhartiputra (1993). He debuted in Kannada cinema through the bilingual film, Shikari (2012). He also acted in an Indian English film Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (2000).
Mammootty is the chairman of Malayalam Communications, which runs the Malayalam television channels Kairali TV, Kairali News and Kairali WE TV. He is the goodwill ambassador of the Akshaya project, the first district-wide e-literacy project in India. He is the patron of the Pain and Palliative Care Society, a charitable organisation in Kerala formed with the aim of improving the quality of life among patients with advanced cancer.
Family and early life
Mammootty was born Muhammad Kutty Ismail Panaparambil on 7 September 1951 in Chandiroor in Travancore (now Kerala), and raised in the village of Chempu near Vaikom in Kottayam district in the present-day state of Kerala, India in a middle-class, Muslim family. His father, Ismail, had the wholesale business of garments and rice, and also the cultivation of rice while his mother, Fatima, was a housewife. He was their eldest son. He has two younger brothers, Ibrahimkutty and Zakariah and three younger sisters, Ameena, Sauda and Shafina.
Mammootty went to Government High School, Kulasekharamangalam, Kottayam for his primary education. In the 1960s, his father moved the family to Ernakulam, where he attended Government School Ernakulam. He did his pre-university course (pre-degree) at Sacred Heart College, Thevara. He attended Maharaja's College, Ernakulam for his degree. He graduated with a LL.B. from Government Law College, Ernakulam. Mammootty practiced law for two years in Manjeri.
Mammootty married Sulfath in 1979, and has a daughter Surumi (born 1982), and a son Dulquer Salmaan (born 1986). He resides at Kochi, Ernakulam with family. Mammootty's younger brother Ibrahimkutty is an actor in Malayalam films and Malayalam TV serials. Ibrahimkutty's son Maqbool Salmaan is also a film actor.
Early career (1971–1980)
Mammootty's debut was in the 1971 film Anubhavangal Paalichakal, directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan. His second film was Kaalachakram, a 1973 Malayalam film directed by K. Narayanan. He acted in the theatre drama Sabarmathi in 1975. In 1979, he played his first lead role in Devalokam, directed by M. T. Vasudevan Nair. However, this film was never completed. His first credited role was in the 1980 film Vilkkanundu Swapnangal, directed by Azad and written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair.
Mammootty's films in the 1980s include: Sphodanam (directed by P. G. Viswambharan), in which his name appeared in the credits as "Sajin" and in some following films; Munnettam (directed by Sreekumaran Thampi); and Thrishna (directed by I.V. Sasi). In 1981, he got his first state award in the Best Supporting Actor category for his performance in Ahimsa. His performances included Aalkkoottathil Thaniye and Adiyozhukkukal. He played a police officer in the investigative thriller Yavanika (1982), directed by K. G. George, which was both a commercial and critical success. Other major releases in 1982 were Padayottam and Ee Nadu, which was a commercial success and became the highest grossing south Indian film at that time. Padayottam was the first 70 mm film Indian film to be completely processed in India. It was also the first Malayalam film with a budget over ₹1 crore (US$140,000).
In a period of five years, from 1982 to 1987, Mammootty acted in the lead role in more than 150 films. In 1986 alone, he acted in about 35 films, including a brief appearance in Mazha Peyyunnu Maddalam Kottunnu.
In the mid-1980s, he collaborated in what became known as the Mammootty-Kutty-Petty films. These films had Mammootty as the protagonist, a husband and a father, with a 3 or 4-year-old daughter, employed in a top ranking post in a company. Mammootty made a comeback with New Delhi and Thaniyavarthanam, both released in 1987. In New Delhi, he played a victimised journalist, who systematically took revenge on politicians who flattered him. He received the Kerala Film Critics Awards for Best Actor for his role as Balan Mash in Thaniyavarthanam, written by Lohithadas and directed by Sibi Malayil.
In 1988, Mammootty starred in Oru CBI Diary Kurippu as a CBI officer. Following Oru CBI Diary Kurippu, three more murder mystery sequels were produced with the same cast of characters: Jagratha (1989), Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004) and Nerariyan CBI (2005), all directed by K. Madhu, penned by S. N. Swamy with Mammootty as Sethurama Iyer, an intelligent but unassuming CBI officer. Mammootty appeared in two of M. T. Vasudevan Nair's films with autobiographical elements—Aksharangal, directed by I. V. Sasi and Sukrutham, directed by Harikumar.
Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha was directed by T. Hariharan and penned by M.T. Vasudevan Nair. Mammootty's depiction of a Chekavar (mercenary warrior) of distinguished valor, but vilified by circumstances, won him the National Film Award for Best Actor. His role as a hunter, Varunni in Mrigaya, directed by I.V. Sasi and another film Mahayanam, were also scanned for the State Award. Mammootty won the Filmfare award for Amaram directed by Bharathan, in which he played an uneducated fisherman who dreams of making his only daughter a doctor.
During this period, Mammootty appeared in many of the films directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan including: Anantaram ("Thenceforth"), Mathilukal ("Walls") and Vidheyan ("The Servile"). His portrayal of the protagonist in Mathilukal (based on Mathilukal, a novel by the Malayalam novelist Vaikom Muhammad Basheer) was instrumental in getting him his first National Film Award for Best Actor. Mammootty also appeared in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Vidheyan and T. V. Chandran's Ponthan Mada. He received the National Film Award for Best Actor and State Award for his roles in both films.
Mammootty won his third national award for Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, an English language movie about the life of B. R. Ambedkar, directed by Jabbar Patel in 1999. The film was sponsored by the National Film Development Corporation of India and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
By the end of the 1990s, he acted in films such as Priyadarshan's Megham and Fazil's Harikrishnans, in which he co-starred with Mohanlal. Due to the immense popularity of both the actors, Fazil was forced to shoot two endings for the film– a first for Indian film.
Mammootty started off the new millennium with Lohithadas's Arayannagalude Veedu in 2000. A critical and commercial success, it earned him the Filmfare Best Malayalam Actor Award. He portrayed Arackal Madhavanunni in Shaji Kailas's action thriller Valliettan, which was one of the highest-grossing films of the year.
In 2001, he acted in two films including Dubai, one of the most expensive films ever made in Malayalam at that time. In 2002, he acted in three films. Chronic Bachelor in 2003 was a romantic comedy-drama film about the life of Sathyaprathapan (known as SP). The film was written and directed by Siddique and produced by Malayalam director Fazil. The film was released as a Vishu release in 2003 and ran for more than 115 days.
In 2004, the third instalment in the CBI series Sethurama Iyer CBI, marked Mammootty's comeback. Also in 2004, he won the state award for his portrayal of Madhavan in Blessy's Kazhcha. Ranjith's Black and V. M. Vinu's Vesham were also successful ventures.
Mammootty had six releases in 2005, including Anwar Rasheed's directorial debut Rajamanikyam. He portrayed Bellary Raja, a Thiruvananthapuram-based cattle dealer in the film, which was the highest-grossing film of the year and highest grossing Malayalam film until 2008.
In 2006, Mammootty won the Filmfare Best Actor Award for the movie Karutha Pakshikal, directed by Kamal. He also acted in I. V. Sasi's Balram vs. Tharadas, in which he reprised his roles as Inspector Balram from the 1991 Inspector Balram and Tharadas from the 1984 Athirathram. It was I. V. Sasi's 144th film, and a record 35th with Mammootty. In 2006, Mammootty continued his success with the film Thuruppu Gulan. Mammootty's action comedy Mayavi was released in 2007. He portrayed Dr. Nathan in Shyamaprasad in Ore Kadal (2007), and appeared in the same year in Big B.
In October 2009, he acted in Pazhassi Raja, directed by Hariharan and written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair; it had a good opening weekend collection at the box office. He also acted in the short film Puramkazhchakal (directed by Lal Jose) from Malayalam's first portmanteau film Kerala Cafe. In 2009, he won his fifth state award for Best Actor for his performance in Ranjith's Paleri Manikyam. It was reported that he was shortlisted for the 2009 National Award for Best Actor, but lost the award to Amitabh Bachchan. The jury's decision was criticised by Shaji N. Karun, director of Kutty Srank and Ranjith, director of Paleri Manikyam.
In the year 2010, Mammootty acted in the films Drona 2010, directed by Shaji Kailas, Yugapurushan, directed by R. Sukumaran, Pramaani, directed by B. Unnikrishnan, Pokkiri Raja, the directorial debut of Vysakh Abraham, Kutty Srank, directed by Shaji N. Karun, Pranchiyettan & the Saint, directed by Ranjith, Best of Luck, directed by M. A. Nishad (a cameo role) and Best Actor, Martin Prakkat's debut film.
His films 15 August, directed by Shaji Kailas, Doubles, directed by Sohan Seenulal, The Train, directed by Jayaraj, Bombay March 12, directed by Babu Janardhanan and Venicile Vyaapari, directed by Shafi appeared in 2011.
In 2012, his films included: The King & the Commissioner, directed by Shaji Kailas, the Kannada film Shikari, directed by Abhay Simha, Cobra, directed by Lal, Thappana, directed by Johny Antony, Jawan of Vellimala, directed by Anoop Kannan, (Mammootty produced the film), Face to Face, directed by V. M. Vinu and Bavuttiyude Namathil, directed by G. S. Vijayan.
His first films released in 2013 were Kammath & Kammath, directed by Thomson and Immanuel, directed by Lal Jose. Later, he went on to appear in Kadal Kadannoru Mathukkutty, directed by Ranjith, which was released for Ramzan season, Kunjananthante Kada, directed by Salim Ahamed and Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus, directed by G. Marthandan.. His next release was Silence, directed by V. K. Prakash.
He acted in Balyakalasakhi, directed by Pramod Payyannur, Praise the Lord, directed by Shibu Gangadharan and Gangster, directed by Aashiq Abu in the first half of 2014. He also acted in: Manglish, directed by Salam Bappu, Munnariyippu, directed by Venu, RajadhiRaja, directed by debutant Ajai Vasudev and Varsham, directed by Ranjith Sankar. Mammootty received critical praise for his portrayal of C.K. Raghavan in Munnariyippu, while Sify called RajadhiRaja "a genuine hit for Mammootty after a long time". Nicy V.P. of International Business Times wrote: "Varsham is a movie worth investing your time and money."
His 2015 releases were Fireman, directed by Deepu Karunakaran, Bhaskar the Rascal, directed by Siddique, a commercial success, Acha Dhin, directed by Marthandan. Utopiayile Rajavu, directed by Kamal and Pathemari, directed by Salim Ahamed.
He acted in Puthiya Niyamam alongside Nayanthara directed by A. K. Sajan in the first half of 2016. He also acted in Kasaba directed by debutant director Nithin Renji Paniker. His next releases for the year was White directed by Uday Ananthan and Thoppil Joppan, directed by Johny Antony marking their fourth collaboration.
In 2017, his first release was The Great Father directed by debutant Haneef Adeni. He was then seen in Puthan Panam directed by Ranjith, Pullikkaran Staraa directed by Syamdhar and Masterpiece directed by Ajai Vasudev.
In 2018, he acted in Parole directed by debutant Sharrath Sandith. He was then seen in Uncle written by Joy Mathew and directed by debutant Girish Damodar. His next release was Abrahaminte Santhathikal, a crime thriller directed by debutant Shaji Padoor. His last release for the year was Oru Kuttanadan Blog directed and written by Sethu.
His first release of 2019 was Madhura Raja, a spin-off to 2010 film Pokkiri Raja directed by Vysakh. It become the best-grossing film in Mammootty's career. His next release was Unda directed by Khalid Rahman in which he played the role of a Sub-inspector of Police who led the team of a police unit for state election duty in a Maoist prone area in Chhattisgarh. He was then seen in an extended cameo in the film Pathinettam Padi directed by Shankar Ramakrishnan. Later in the year, Mammootty was in the historical drama Mamangam directed by M. Padmakumar, which is based on historical Mamankam festival in the banks of the Bharathappuzha. He was also in Ramesh Pisharody's Ganagandharvan in which he plays a ‘ganamela’ singer named Kalasadhan Ullas and Ajai Vasudev's Shylock.
In 2021, Mammootty has two releases in March; the first is The Priest, directed by Jofin T. Chacko. The film also features Manju Warrier in lead role. The second is One, a political thriller film directed by Santhosh Vishwanath. He plays Kadakkal Chandran, Chief Minister of Kerala in the film.
Films in other languages
Mammootty has acted in a few non-Malayalam movies and these include some Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada and English films. In 1990, he made his Tamil debut in Mounam Sammadham, directed by K. Madhu. He has acted in Tamil films for directors including K. Balachander's (Azhagan), Mani Ratnam's (Thalapathy), Fazil's (Kilippechu Kekkavaa), N. Linguswamy's (Aanandham), R. K. Selvamani's (Makkal Aatchi), Marumalarchi Bharathi's (Marumalarchi) and Ethirum Puthirum and Rajiv Menon (Kandukondain Kandukondain) (2000). He played Anantha Sharma in K. Vishwanath's Telugu film Swathi Kiranam (1992).
He made his debut in Hindi films through Thriyathri, which was released in 1989, though his first film as a leading actor was Dhartiputra.
He starred titular role in the biographical film Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, directed by Jabbar Patel, which was in English language won him his third National Film Award for Best Actor. He also appeared in Hindi film Sau Jhooth Ek Sach (2004).
During the 2006 IIFA Awards ceremony held at Dubai, he openly criticised the organizers of the IIFA Awards for completely ignoring South Indian film by stating that the Bollywood film industry should stand up to competition from the South Indian film industry before calling itself international.
In 2018, he acted in critically acclaimed Tamil movie Peranbu directed by Ram. It was selected for Rotterdam Film Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival and International Film Festival of India. His role of single parent Amudhavan who struggles with raising his spastic girl child, Paapa was well appreciated by critics.
Mammootty has had many of his Malayalam films dubbed into Telugu and Tamil cinema such as Doubles, Chattambinaadu, Parunthu, Annan Thambi, Thommanum Makkalum, Sethurama Iyer CBI and Pazhassi Raja among others.
Mammootty is the patron of the Pain and Palliative Care Society, a charitable organisation in Kerala, formed with the aim of improving the quality of life among patients with advanced cancer. He has been working with the Pain and Palliative Care Centre situated in Kozhikode, India. In 2018, he put forth a novel project to provide the pain and palliative care to those suffering from cancer throughout Kerala.
Mammootty is the goodwill ambassador of the charity project Street India Movement, which is aimed at the eradication of child begging and child labour. He has promoted the activities of the movement, which networks with orphanages and institutions looking after the children.
Kazhcha is a venture to extend free eye care and treatment organised by Mammootty Fans Welfare Association and Mammootty Times, in association with Little Flower Hospital and Research Centre and the Eye Bank Association of Kerala. One of the major activities related to this is the distribution of free spectacles to children. A special fund received from the office of the President of India will be utilised[when?] for this purpose. Free eye camps will also be conducted at various places in connection with this project.
Akshaya, the information technology dissemination project of the Government of Kerala, has Mammootty as its goodwill ambassador. He formally took over the role on 26 February 2006 at a video networked programme which was linked to all the district headquarters of the state.
Mammootty is a patron of the Care and Share International Foundation, a charity organisation working towards removing the inequalities in society. The foundation has done many notable humanitarian works including the recent Hridaya Sparsham project, to mobilise help for the heart surgery of children. Mammootty's plea over social networking sites raised about ₹ 1 crore within a day.
In August 2014, Mammootty launched the My Tree Challenge as a response to the popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Its purpose is to encourage others to plant saplings, as the rules dictate they should if they are challenged. My Tree Challenge was kick-started by two environment lovers, Abdul Manaf, an entrepreneur, and Imthias Kadeer, a travel photographer. It was actor Fahadh Faasil who first challenged actors Mohanlal and Mammootty to take up the challenge.
He co-owned a production company during the 1980s, Casino, along with Mohanlal, I.V. Sasi, Seema and Century Kochumon. The production house produced commercially successful films such as Nadodikkattu, Gandhi Nagar 2nd Street, Adiyozhukkukal and Karimpin Poovinakkare.
He formed a television production company, Megabytes, which produced television serials, the first being Jwalayay in the late 1990s, which was also his first project as a producer. He also owns a distribution company named Mammootty Technotainment.
In the media and other activities
Mammootty has joined with the Kerala State Beverages Corporation to promote the anti-drug campaign Addicted to Life. The project, launched by the Government of Kerala aims to eradicate the drugs and alcohol usage among people— especially youth. Mammootty was appointed as the brand ambassador of the Thrissur-based South Indian Bank on 16 October 2006. He was also featured as the brand ambassador for Kerala Volleyball League.
The distribution company Playhouse Entertainments is owned by Mammootty. Some of the films distributed by the company are Chattambinadu, Ritu, Three Kings, Living Together, Neelathamara, Pranchiyettan & the Saint, The King and the Commissioner and Cobra.
Mammootty has won three National Film Awards, seven Kerala State Film Awards, thirteen Filmfare Awards, eleven Kerala Film Critics Awards and five Asianet Film Awards (from fourteen nominations). In 1998, the government of India honoured Mammootty with its fourth highest civilian award, Padma Shri for his contribution to the Indian film industry. He was conferred with the Doctor of Letters degree by University of Calicut and University of Kerala in 2010.
National Film Awards
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