Sathyan (actor)

Sathyan (born Cheruvilakathu Veetil Manuel Sathyanesan: 9 November 1912 – 15 June 1971) was an Indian film actor known for his work in Malayalam cinema noted for his natural style and versatility. He is one of the pioneers of realistic acting in Indian film industry. His method of acting contains parameters in performing characters such as originality, naturality, reality, range, depth, maturity, continuity, habituality, timing, flow, flexibility along with proper modulation of voice, facial expressions, dialogue and monologue presentation and body language in appropriate quantity and quality required for the characters in exact proportion and in according to the situation with immense variety. In his movies it is found that totally he is transmuted fully to the characters he performed and one can read meaning of the act from his face and eyes without any dialogues .Many experts and critics claims that the features of his face and body satisfies the male persona described in Saamudhrika Saasthram. He is respectfully called Sathyan Master.

Manuel Sathyaneshan.jpg
Manuel Sathyaneshan

(1912-11-09)9 November 1912
Died15 June 1971(1971-06-15) (aged 58)
Resting placeThiruvananthapuram LMS Compound
Other namesSathyan Master, Sathyan Mashu
OccupationActor, police inspector, soldier (Viceroy's Commissioned Officer), clerk, school teacher
Years active1951–1971
Spouse(s)Jessy Sathyan
ChildrenPrakash Sathyan, Satheesh Sathyan, Jeevan Sathyan
Awards2 Kerala State Film Awards

Sathyan won the best actor award at the first kerala film state award ceremony for his double role in Kadalpalam. He won the Kerala state award for best actor again in 1971 for his film karakanakadal. He was nominated for the best actor at national level for his outstanding performance in Anubhavangal Palichakal,a classical realistic movie in 1971 but unfortunately lost the award . Sathyan died due to leukemia on 15 June 1971 at the age of 59.

Sathyan served as an officer in the British Indian Army during World War II. After the war he joined the Travancore state police as an inspector in late 1940s. During this time he got interested in acting and acted in amateur stage plays. He made his debut in 1952 film Athmasakhi and rose to stardom with the critically acclaimed legendary film Neelakuyil (1954). He dominated the Malayalam film industry over two decades ( 1952 – 1971) along with his contemporary Prem Nazir.

He is remembered for his performances in Anubhavangal Palichakal (1971), Karinizhal(1971), Chemmeen (1965), Kadalpalam (1969),Yakshi (1968), Odayil ninnu (1965),Sarasayya(1971), Rowdi (1966), Vazhvemayam (1970), Ningalenne Communist Akki(1970),Orupenninte kadha (1971), karakanakadal(1971), Rowdy(1966), kayamkulam kochunni(1966), Mooladhanam (1969), Pakalkinavu (1966), Ammayenna Sthree (1970),Kuttavali (1970),Crossbelt (1970), Adimakal (1969), Thacholi Othenan(1964), Adhya kiranangal(1964), Mudiyanaya Puthran (1961).

Personal lifeEdit

Sathyan was born in a Christian family at Aramada, Thrikkannapuram, Thiruvananthapuram on 9 November 1912 as the first child of Cheruvilakathu Veettil Manuel and Emily. He has four siblings named Chellayya, Neshan, Devadas and Jacob. Sathyan passed the Vidwan exam, equivalent to Master of Arts before joining Saint Joseph's School, Trivandrum as a teacher. After some time, he got job as a clerk in the Kerala Secretariat and worked there for about a year. He joined the army in 1941 and got posted as a Commissioned Officer of the Viceroy of India. He served the British army in Manipur, Burma (now Myanmar) and British Malaya (now Malaysia) during the World War II period. After finishing his term in the army, he returned home and joined the then Travancore State Police as a police inspector. During the Punnapra-Vayalar uprising in 1947–1948, Sathyan was the inspector at Alappuzha North Police Station.

Sathyan was married to Jessy. They have three sons named Prakash Sathyan, Satheesh Sathyan and Jeevan Sathyan. Daughter-in-law - Annamma Jeevan, and the only Grand Daughter, Dr.Asha Jeevan Sathyan.

Though he was a very tough and serious man, he always helped others in difficult situations. His good heart, courage, punctuality and dedication was praised by many film contemporaries.

Entry to filmsEdit

Sathyan's entry into the field of acting started during his tenure as the police officer. At that time he acted in several amateur plays and that experience made him more interested in acting. His entry to film industry was accidental. He got introduced to a film musician Sebastian Kunjukunju Bhagavathar during his tenure as Inspector in Alappuzha North Police Station. The musician introduced Sathyan to various film personalities and one producer promised to cast him in a film; however, Sathyan did not get any calls from the producer. Sathyan came to know about a film that Kaumudi Chief Editor and his neighbour K. Balakrishnan was planning. He met Balakrishnan and the latter was impressed by Sathyan. Balakrishnan cast him as the protagonist in the film written and produced by him, titled Thyagaseema. The then Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mary Arputham, objected to Sathyan acting in the film. Sathyan resigned from his job to act in this film and shortened his name to Sathyan from Sathyaneshan. However, the film was dropped. Thyagaseema was also incidentally the first film for Prem Nazir.

In 1952 P. Subramaniam established Neela Productions. He happened to see the rushes of Thyagaseema and was impressed by Sathyan's performance. Subramaniam invited Sathyan to act as hero in his first film Athmasakhi (1952) which was Sathyan's first release.

Film careerEdit

Rise to stardomEdit

In 1952, Sathyan' first film got released. The film was titled Athmasakhi and it earned him recognition in the industry.[1] Sathyan rose to fame with the legendary Neelakkuyil (1954). The film was also a milestone in Malayalam film history. It was the first film to have an authentic Malayalam story.[2] The film was written by renowned literary figure Uroob and directed by Ramu Karyat-P. Bhaskaran duo. The songs in the film written by P. Bhaskaran and set to tunes by K. Raghavan were superhits. The film became the first Malayalam film to win national recognition when it was awarded the Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus Award). The film's success at the box office raised Sathyan and his co-star Miss Kumari to stardom.[2]

Peak timeEdit

Sathyan's career was influenced by great directors like K. S. Sethumadhavan, P. Venu, A. Vincent and Ramu Karyat. Sathyan's roles in various films directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan like Pappu in Odayil Ninnu, Jayarajan in Daham, Prof. Sreeni in Yakshi (first psychological thriller in Malayalam) and the pratogonist in Vazhve Mayam were well appreciated.Sathyan's other major performances include those in Udhyogastha, Snehaseema, Nairu Pidicha Pulivalu, Veettu Mrugam, Mudiyanaya Puthran, Bharya, Shakuntala, Kayamkulam Kochunni, Adimakal and Karakanakadal. His famous title character 'Othenan' in the film Thacholi Othenan became highly popular among the masses. His role in Chemmeen, the poignant love story set against the background of the coast of Alappuzha did not win him the best actor award for the year, but is one of the most popular roles of his career. He acted in over 150 Malayalam films and two Tamil films.

Sathyan won the first Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor in 1969 for the double role in Kadalpalam.

Final filmsEdit

Vazhve Mayam, Anubhavangal Paalichakal, Karakanakadal which won high critical acclaim were among his final films. Other releases were Bhikara Nimishankal, Aranazhikaneram and Oru Penninte Katha (as Madhavan Thambi).Sathyan died before completing the movie 'Anubhavangal Paalichakal'.It is said that, the expressions of Sathyan in the song 'Pravaachankanmare' in that movie is real because of the pain he suffered in real life.It is also said that, the final scenes of Sathyan in the movie are made with a dupe and the crying scene of Sheela in the climax is real because of the departure of Sathyan in real life. He was posthumously awarded the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor in 1971 for his performance in Karakanakadal.Mammootty and Suresh Gopi debuted in film as child artists in Sathyan's movies. Mammootty in Anubhavangal Paalichakal and Suresh Gopi in Odayil Ninnu.


Sathyan died of leukemia after fighting it for a year and four months on 15 June 1971 at Madras. He was aged 59 at the time of his death. His body was taken back to his native place Thiruvananthapuram, and was buried with full state honours. Thousands attended his funeral. His wife outlived him for 16 years, dying in 1987. His eldest son Prakash Sathyan died on Vishu day in 2014.

Accolades and legacyEdit

Sathyan was a prominent actor to be considered as a superstar in Malayalam film industry after Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair.[3] During the late 1950s and the whole of the 1960s, he and Prem Nazir formed a bipolar industry with a considerable number of films starring at least one of them.[4] He won the inaugural Kerala State Film Award for best actor in 1969 & again posthumously in 1971.There is a Sathyan Memorial Art Gallery in Thiruvananthapuram.

Awards and recognitionEdit

Kerala State Film Awards:[5]

Film Film Awards:

  • 1969: Adimakal

Popular rolesEdit

Below are a few of the most popular & critically praised characters played by Sathyan:[6]


Awards established in his nameEdit

Sathyan National Film Award (Sathyan Foundation) : An award instituted by the "Sathyan Foundation" a charitable organization formed with the basic objective of perpectuating the memory of veteran actor Sathyan by his children and grand child. The prestigious "Sathyan National Film Award" is presented annually to an eminent personality of Indian cinema. Memento, certificate and 25000rs/- are given as award for the awardees.

  • Winners: Murali, Thilakan, P. Bhaskaran, Balachandra Menon, Kalabhavan Mani, Sheela, Nedumudi Venu, Dileep, K. S. Chithra, K.J Yesudas, Kalabhavan Mani, Madhu, Sharada, Suresh Gopi,M. Jayachandran, Sreekumaran Thampi, Jerry Amaldev.

Sathyan Award: An award instituted by the Kerala Cultural Forum. The award carries a sum of Rs. 10000 and a plaque.

  • Winner: Innocent (2007)[7]

Sathyan Memorial Film Award: An award instituted by the Sathyan Memorial Arts and Sports Club. The award is given in various fields including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Anti-Hero, Best Comedian, Best Newcomer and Best Singers (male and female), taking the last year's performances into consideration.



  1. Thenaruvi (1973) – Posthumous film
  2. Lakshyam (1972)
  3. Akkarapacha (1972)
  4. Agnimrugam (1971) -guest role
  5. Kuttyedathi (1971) .... Appunni
  6. Thettu (1971).... Johny
  7. Sarasayya (1971).... Dr. Thomas
  8. Anubhavangal Paalichakal(1971).... Chellappan
  9. Panchavankaadu (1971)...Ananda Kurup
  10. Moonnupookkal (1971)
  11. Shiksha (1971).... Surendran
  12. CID in Jungle (1971)
  13. Karakaanaakkadal (1971)
  14. Oru Penninte Kadha (1971)
  15. Karinizhal (1971)
  16. Vimochanasamaram (1971)
  17. Kalithozhi (1971)
  18. Kurukshethram (1970)
  19. Sthree (1970)
  20. Aranaazhikaneram (1970).... Mathukkutty
  21. Nishaagandhi (1970)
  22. Ammayenna Sthree (1970)
  23. Dathuputhran (1970)...Kunjachan
  24. Bheekara Nimishangal (1970)..... Mancheri Raghavan
  25. Cross Belt (1970).... Rajasekharan Nair
  26. Othenante Makan (1970)... Othenan Kurup
  27. Ningalenne Communistaakki (1970)...Paramu Pilla
  28. Thriveni (1970)
  29. Kalpana (1970)
  30. Kuttavaali (1970) .... Kedi Krishnan
  31. Thaara (1970).... Balakrishna Pilla
  32. Nilakkaatha Chalanangal (1970)
  33. Vazhve Mayam (1970) .... Sudhindharan Nair
  34. Vivaahitha (1970).... Ashok
  35. Veettu Mrugam (1969)
  36. Sandhya (1969)
  37. Kadalppaalam (1969)...Narayana Kaimal, Raghu (double role)
  38. Urangatha Sundari (1969) .... Vikraman Kartha
  39. Adimakal (1969) .... Appukuttan
  40. Velliyaazhcha (1969).... Ravi
  41. Mooladhanam (1969).... Ravi
  42. Chattambikkavala (1969)
  43. Koottukudumbam (1969)
  44. Kaattukurangu (1969)
  45. Vilakkappetta Bandhangal (1969)
  46. Kuruthikkalam (1969)
  47. Aparaadhini (1968)
  48. Manaswini (1968)
  49. Agnipareeksha (1968) .... Dr.Mohan
  50. Yakshi (1968)...Sreenivasan
  51. Velutha Kathreena (1968) .... Chellappan
  52. Thokkukal Kadha Parayunnu (1968)
  53. Kaliyalla Kalyaanam (1968)
  54. Pengal (1968)
  55. Vazhi Pizhacha Santhathi (1968)
  56. Midumidukki (1968)
  57. Kaarthika (1968).... Kunju
  58. Sahadharmini (1967)
  59. Thalirukal (1967)
  60. Khadeeja (1967)
  61. Mainatharuvi Kolakkes (1967)
  62. N. G. O. (1967)
  63. Swapnabhoomi (1967)
  64. Kaavaalam Chundan (1967)
  65. Sheelaavathi (1967)
  66. Anweshichu Kandethiyilla (1967)
  67. Udhyogastha (1967)
  68. Postman (1967)
  69. Ollathumathi (1967)
  70. Chekuthaante Kotta (1967)
  71. Naadan Pennu (1967)
  72. Ashwamedham (1967)..... Thomas
  73. Kudumbam (1967)
  74. Pavappettaval (1967) .... Gopi
  75. Arakkillam (1967)
  76. Rowdy (1966)
  77. Anarkali (1966)..... Akbar
  78. Thilothama (1966)
  79. Tharavaattamma (1966).... Gopi
  80. Station Master (1966)
  81. Kallippennu (1966)
  82. Kayamkulam Kochunni (1966)...Kochunni
  83. Pakalkkinaavu (1966)
  84. Jail (1966)
  85. Koottukaar (1966)
  86. Thommante Makkal (1965)
  87. Chemmeen (1965) .... Palani
  88. Shakunthala (1965)
  89. Daaham (1965) .... Jayaraj
  90. Kadathukaaran (1965)...Ramu
  91. Inapraavukal (1965)
  92. Shyaamala Chechi (1965)
  93. Devatha (1965)
  94. Odayil Ninnu (1965) .... Pappu
  95. Chettathi (1965) .... Premachandran
  96. Kaattuthulasi (1965)
  97. Ammu (1965)
  98. Aadyakiranangal (1964).... Kunjukutty
  99. Aayisha (1964)
  100. Omanakkuttan (1964)
  101. Manavaatti (1964)
  102. Anna (Old) (1964)
  103. Thacholi Othenan (1964)...Thacholi Othenan
  104. Kalanjukittiya Thankam (1964).... Sugathan
  105. Pazhassiraaja (1964)
  106. Check Post (1974)
  107. Aashaachakram (1973)
  108. Rebecca (1963)
  109. Nithyakanyaka (1963)
  110. Doctor (1963) .... Rajendran
  111. Ammaye Kaanaan (1963) .... Chandran
  112. Moodupadam (1963)
  113. Kadalamma (1963)
  114. Baalya Prathijna (Purusharathnam) (1972)
  115. Akkarappacha (1972)
  116. Kalippaava (1972)
  117. Paalaattu Koman (Konkiyamma) (1962)
  118. Bhaagyajaathakam (1962)
  119. Laila Majnu (1962)
  120. Vidhi Thanna Vilakku (1962)
  121. Sreekovil (1962)
  122. Puthiya Akasam Puthiya Bhoomi (1962) .... Sukumaran
  123. Kannum Karalum (1962)
  124. Viyarppinte Vila (1962)
  125. Bhaarya (1962)
  126. Krishnakuchela (1961)
  127. Arappavan (1961).... Vettukaaran Ramu
  128. Mudiyanaya Puthran (1961).... Rajasekharan Pilla
  129. Unniyarcha (1961)...Aromal Chekavar
  130. Minnalppadayaali (1959)
  131. Chathurangam (1959)
  132. Nairu Pidicha Pulivaalu (1958)..... Chandran
  133. Lilly (1958)
  134. Minnunnathellaam Ponnalla (1957)
  135. Achanum Makanum (1957)
  136. Thaskaraveeran (1957)
  137. Deva Sundari (1957)
  138. Avar Unarunnoo (1956)
  139. Kaalam Maarunnu (1955)
  140. Neelakkuyil (1954)..... Sreedharan Nair
  141. Snehaseema (1954).... Johny
  142. Aashadeepam (1953)
  143. Lokaneethi (1953)
  144. Thiramaala (1953)
  145. Aathmasakhi (1952)
  146. Thyaagaseema (1951) (unreleased film)


This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

  1. Aalukkoru Veedu (1960)


  1. ^ "Sathyam Sundaram- Sathyan- 40 years down memory lane". 14 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  2. ^ a b ", Official website of AMMA, Malayalam Film news, Malayalam Movie Actors & Actress, Upcoming Malayalam movies". Archived from the original on 23 December 2008.
  3. ^ "40 years since the throne became vacant- Sathyan- 40 years down memory lane". 14 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Sathyan award presented". 10 November 2006 – via
  5. ^ "Sathyan enna prathibha". 14 June 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Sathyan- 40 years down memory lane". 14 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  7. ^ ", Official website of AMMA, Malayalam Film news, Malayalam Movie Actors & Actress, Upcoming Malayalam movies".

External linksEdit