Mammootty was born as Muhammadkutty Ismail Panaparambil on 7 September 1951 in Chempu, Thiru-Kochi, India, is an Indian film actor, producer, lawyer, philanthropist and cultural icon best known for his work in Malayalam cinema. He has also acted in a few Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, and Kannada films. During a career spanning more than three decades, he has acted in more than 360 films, and is only next to Prem Nazir in the number of lead roles in Indian films. He also appeared in the highest number of dual roles (nine) in Malayalam films.
Mammootty is recognised as one of the finest actors in Indian cinema. He has been awarded the National Film Award for Best Actor three times, a record he shares with Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Hassan. He has also won seven Kerala State Film Awards, and eleven Filmfare Awards. He was the first (1998) Malayali actor to be honoured with the Padma Shri for his contributions towards the arts. He was also honoured a Doctor of Letters by the University of Kerala in January 2010 and by the University of Calicut in December 2010. Vanitha, a leading women’s magazine in Malayalam, in 2004, chose Mammootty as the actor with the highest sex appeal in Kerala, following a survey among its readers.
Mammootty is Chairman of Malayalam Communications, which runs Communist Party of India (Marxist) controlled Malayalam TV channels Kairali TV, People TV, and WE TV. Mammootty has promoted humanitarian causes throughout Kerala and is the goodwill ambassador of the Akshaya project.
Mammootty was born and raised in Chempu near Vaikom in the Kottayam district of the state of Kerala, India in a middle class, Muslim family. He was the eldest son of the family. His father Ismail was a farmer and his mother Fatima was a housewife. His father shifted his family to Ernakulam in 1960s, his school life was at St. Albert s School and Government School Ernakulam. He did his Pre-University course (pre-degree) at Maharajas College, Kochi, and then graduated with a L.L.B. (Bachelor of Laws) from Ernakulam Government Law College. He also practiced law for two years in Manjeri.He also became best friends with Mohanlal. He married Sulfath in 1980 and has a daughter, Surumi (b. 1982) and a son, Dulquer Salman (b. 1986).
Mammootty’s debut was an uncredited appearance in the 1971 film Anubhavangal Paalichakal directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan, which starred Sathyan, Prem Nazir and Sheela in the lead roles. His only scene in the film was being one among a running crowd along with the lead actor Sathyan. Mammootty then was a student at the Maharajas College.
His second film was Kaalachakram, a 1973 Malayalam film directed by K. Narayanan, and starring Prem Nazir and Jayabharathi. This was the first dialogued appearance of Mammootty, appearing only in one scene in the film. He acted under the screenname Sajin, but later dropped it.
His professional film career began in 1979, when he played his first lead role in Devalokam, directed by veteran M. T. Vasudevan Nair. However, this film was never completed.
His next film was the 1980 film, Vilkkanundu Swapnangal, directed by Azad, written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair, and starring Sukumaran in the lead role. The film featured Mammootty, as an antagonist in a supporting role. Voice for Mammootty in this film was dubbed by Sreenivasan.
Mammootty’s first full length character was in the 1980 film Mela which was written and directed by K. G. George and starring Raghu and Anjali Naidu as other lead actors. Mammootty played the antagonist in this film.
Mammootty began to establish himself as a recognised actor through his films of the 1980s viz Sphodanam (directed by P. G. Viswambharan),Munnettam (directed by Sreekumaran Thampi) Thrishna (directed by I.V. Sasi), etc. In 1981, he got his first state award in the Best Supporting Actor category for his performance in Ahimsa. His performances in films like Aalkkoottathil Thaniye and Adiyozhukkukal, scripted by M. T. Vasudevan Nair established him as a leading actor of Malayalam film industry. The role of a police officer in the investigative thriller Yavanika (1982) directed by K. G. George was highly noted. The film was a big commercial success and Mammootty’s role got positive reviews for its style and dialogue delivery.
In a period of five years from 1982 to 1986 Mammootty acted in more than 150 films in the lead role. In 1986 alone, he acted in about 35 films in the lead role.
The mid 80s saw a period of tear-busting stories in Malayalam film. Most of the films were tragedies. This period featured what later came to be referred to as the ‘Mammootty-Kutty-Petty’ films. These films had Mammootty as the protagonist, a husband and a father, with a 3–4 year old daughter, and employed in a top ranking post in a company.He rose to superstardom with his 1984 blockbuster Athirathram.However some of his films released in the next couple of years failed to create an impact.Mammootty made a comeback with New Delhi and Thaniyavarthanam, both released in 1987. New Delhi was a very important movie in his life as an actor.It was one of the biggest blockbusters in the career of Mammootty and Malayalam Cinema which ran in theatres for almost an year.The film was loosely based on the novel, “The Almighty” by Irving Wallace. His portrayal of a victimized journalist, who systematically took revenge on politicians who flattered him, was noticed and well accepted by the masses. Meanwhile, his role as Balan mash in Thaniyavarthanam, written by Lohithadas and directed by Sibi Malayil, was critically acclaimed.
In 1988 Mammootty delivered one of the biggest hits in the history of Malayalam Cinema with his Oru CBI Diary Kurippu. Oru CBI Diary Kurippu went on to create box-office history in Kerala as well as in Tamil Nadu. Mammootty’s role as a CBI officer in this film got him critical acclaim. Following the success of the first CBI film 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. The films by M. T. Vasudevan Nair and Padmarajan, arguably among the best of Malayalam writer-directors, widened Mammootty’s acting horizon. Two of M.T. Vasudevan Nair’s films with autobiographical elements were acted by Mammootty. One was Aksharangal directed by I. V. Sasi and the other was Sukrutham directed by Harikumar.
Mammootty touched the pinnacle of his career in Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha; the film was directed by T. Hariharan and penned by M.T.Vasudevan Nair. His depiction of a Chekavar (mercenary warrior) of distinguished valor but vilified by circumstances won him the National Film Award for Best Actor. Along with the huge commercial success of the film, Mammooty was given rave reviews about his lead role in the film, which required heavy physical and psychological preparations. His role as a hunter Varunni in Mrigaya, directed by I.V. Sasi, and another film Mahayanam, was also scanned for the State Award. Mammootty won the Filmfare award for Amaram directed by Bharathan. He played the role of an uneducated fisherman who dreams of making his only daughter a doctor.
During this time, Mammootty appeared in many of the films directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s. He starred in three of his films, Anantaram (‘Thenceforth’), Mathilukal (‘Walls’) and Vidheyan (‘The Servile’). His portrayal of the protagonist in Mathilukal (based on ‘Mathilukal’, a novel by the ace Malayalam novelist Vaikom Muhammad Basheer) was instrumental in getting him his first National Film Award for Best Actor. Mammootty also portrayed the roles 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. His performance in Valtsalyam directed by Cochin Haneefa was also considered for the State Award. The King, scripted by Renji Panikkar, was released in 1995 and was directed by Shaji Kailas. Mammootty played the central character as a District collector and it turned out to be one of the biggest hit in Malayalam Cinema.
In 1997, he won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for the movie Bhoothakannadi directed by Lohithadas.
In 1999, Mammootty won his third national award for Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, an English language movie about the life of Ambedkar, directed by Jabbar Patel. The film was sponsored by the National Film Development Corporation of India and the Ministry of Social Justice. The film was released after a long and controversial gestation period.
By the end of 1990s he acted on films such as Priyadarshan’s Megham and Fazil’s Harikrishnans in which he co-starred with actor Mohanlal. Due to immense popularity of both the actors, Fazil was forced to use multiple climaxes for the first time in India in Harikrishnans.
Mammootty started of the decade (2000) with Lohithadas’s Arayannagalude Veedu. A critical and commercial success, it earned the Filmfare Best Malayalam Actor Award for Mammootty. He portrayed Arackal Madhavanunni in Shaji Kailas’s action thriller Valliettan, which was one of the highest grossing films of the year.
The period 2001–2003 was of a big setback for Mammootty. In 2001 he acted only in two films one of which, the much hyped Dubai one of the most expensive films ever made in Malayalam, was a boxoffice disaster. In 2002, he acted in only three films. Chronic Bachelor is a 2003 Malayalam romantic comedy drama film about the life of Sathyaprathapan (known as SP), a bachelor as mentioned in the title. The film was written and directed by Siddique. It features Mammootty, Mukesh, Rambha, Bhavana, Indraja, Innocent and others. The movie was produced by Malayalam director Fazil. The film was released as a Vishu release in 2003. It became a blockbuster hit and ran for more than 150 days. It acted as a career boost for Mammootty, whose previous movies in 2001 and 2002, like Raksharajaavu and Phantom.
The 2004 film, the third installment in the CBI series, Sethurama Iyer CBI marked his come back. 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 grosser of the year.
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 Inspector Balram from the 1991 blockbuster Inspector Balram and Tharadas from the 1984 blockbuster 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 in 2007 was a box office blockbuster and was the highest grossing Malayalam film of that year. His portrayal of Dr.Nathan in Shyamaprasad’s Ore Kadal (2007) was critically acclaimed. In 2007 he also acted in commercially successful Big B.
In 2008, Mammootty appeared in Annan Thambi. The film released in 75 centres across the state, completed 50 days in nearly 61 centers and 120 days in 4 centers. The film is touted as the biggest hit in malayalam surpassing the record of Rajamanikyam. He played a police officer for 25th time in the film Roudram which was not a commercial success. He also starred in Kerala’s multistarrer Twenty: 20 in 2008. In October 2009, he acted in Pazhassi Raja, directed by Hariharan and written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair, which became the highest grossing film ever in Malayalam Industry. 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. He was nominated for the National Award for Best Actor in 2009, but he lost the award in the final round of the competition to Amitabh Bachan. The jury’s decision to give the award to Bachan was criticised by Shaji N Karun, director of Kutty Srank (the movie which won the award for best film of 2009) and Ranjith, director of Paleri Manikyam.
Mammootty’s first releases in 2010 was Pokkiri Raja, Pranchiyettan and the Saint, directed by Ranjith, and Best Actor. Pokkiri Raja went on to become the highest grossing film of the year with the trade analysts declaring it as a blockbuster. Pranchiyettan and the Saint which has been touted as the beginning of a renaissance in Malayalam cinema, became the longest running Malayalam film of the last five years. His Best Actor in 2010 also become a super hit.
In 2011 Bombay March 12 got a good review from audience and Venicile Vyaapari,The King & the Commissioner and Cobra of 2012 were box office averages.His family entertainer thappana directed by johney antony with positive word of mouth from both criticis and audiance is already a hit which is going to the way of superhit. His latest films going to release are Anoop Kannan’s Jawan of Vellimala , V. M. Vinu’s Face to Face and G. S. Vijayan’s Bavuttiyude Namathil scripted and produced by Ranjith.
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 Maunam Sammatham, directed by K. Madhu. He has acted in Tamil films for directors including K. Balachander (Azhagan), Mani Ratnam (Thalapathy), N. Linguswamy (“Aanandham”) and Rajiv Menon (Kandukondain Kandukondain). Kilippechu Kekkavaa (1993), directed by Fazil, had Mammootty as a romantic hero. He played the role of Anantha Sharma in K. Vishwanath’s Telugu film Swathi Kiranam (1992).
He acted in the Kannada film Shikari in 2011.
He made his debut into Hindi films through Thriyathri which was released in 1989, though his first film as a leading actor was Dhartiputra. He starred in the biographical film Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar directed by Jabbar Patel which was in the English language. He also appeared in Sau Jhooth Ek Sach (2004).
During the 2006 IIFA Awards ceremony held at Dubai, he openly criticized 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.
The movie Mathilukal (‘The Walls’) has been shown in almost 40 International Film festival beginning with Venice. It was well received upon screening at the Venice International Film Festival, and won four awards in 1990.
Vidheyan, the cinematic adaptation of the novel “Bhaskara Pattelarum Ente Jeevithavum” by Malayalam writer Paul Zachariah explores the master-slave dialectic in a South Karnataka setting. The film won the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, along with the Interfilm Award – Honorable Mention at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival.
Mammootty is involved in more than half a dozen philanthropic projects aimed at helping needy people.
Mammootty is the patron of the Pain and Palliative Care Society, a charitable organization in Kerala formed with the aim of improving the quality of life among patients with advanced cancer. He has been worked with the Pain and Palliative Care Centre situated in Kozhikode, India. Mammootty has now put forth a novel project to provide the pain and palliative care to those suffering from cancer throughout Kerala.
Mammootty is the ambassador of Jeevan Jothi, a social work project aimed at providing aid to people seeking treatment for any ophthalmic diseases, cardiac diseases, orthopedic diseases, liver diseases, renal dysfunctions, Haemophilia diseases, or ENT disorders.
Mammootty is the goodwill ambassador of a charity project “Street India Movement”, which is aimed at the eradication of child begging and child labor. 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 organized 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 distribution of free spectacles to children. A special fund received from the office of the President of India will be utilized for this purpose. Free eye camps will also be conducted at various places in connection to 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 spearheaded the campaign by appearing in print and visual media advertisements and other publicity materials that sent the message of the Akshaya project to the grassroots.
Mammootty is a patron of “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 the social networking sites evoked aid worth about INR 1 crore within a day.
As of 2010, Mammootty is the Chairman of Malayalam Communications, which runs some Malayalam TV channels such as Kairali TV, People TV and Channel We.
He 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. The company distributed his Tamil film Karmegham in Kerala.
Mammootty was appointed as the Global 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.
Mammootty and Dubai-based businessman MA Yousuf Ali met with the officials of the Dubai Internet City (DIC) to lobby for the proposed Smart City project at Kochi.
Mammootty wrote his first book Kazhchapadu (roughly translated as “Perspective”, a compilation of short essays he has written in various publications over the years).
Mammootty owns the distribution company Playhouse Entertainments. Some 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, eleven Filmfare Awards, eleven Kerala Film Critics Awards and five Asianet Film Awards (from fourteen nominations). In 1998, Government of India honored Mammootty, with its fourth highest civilian award, Padma Shri, awarded for his national service, including his contribution to the Indian film industry. In 2009 he won the maiden COSINE Award instituted by Chaldean Syrian Higher Secondary School, Thrissur. He was conferred with Doctor of Letters degree by University of Calicut and University of Kerala in 2010.