Malayalam Cinema has given a lot to the Indian movie fraternity, both in terms of great movies and charismatic actors/actresses. Although the Indian film industry produces films in around 20 languages and dialects, the actors whose performances have won awards have worked in seven major languages, with Malayalam being the second most with 13 awards till date. Here, we remind ourselves of the great malayalam actors who have brought laurels to the state gathering the National Film Awards for their spectacular performances.
1. P. J. Antony
He received the National Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in Nirmalyam in 1974. He was also the first actor working in Malayalam cinema to receive the award. He also established his own theatre named Prathibha Theatres in Kochi.
2. Bharath Gopi
Gopinathan Velayudhan Nair, also known as Bharat Gopi, won the National Award for his role as Sankarankutty in Kodiyettam (1977). In 1991 the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri for his contributions towards the arts. His well-known roles include Aiyappan in Yavanika, Vasu Menon in Palangal, Prof. "Shakespeare" Krishna Pillai in Kattathe Kilikoodu, Dushasana Kurup in Panchavadi Palam, Nandagopal in Ormakkayi, Mammachan in Adaminte Vaariyellu, Shankaran in Chidambaram, and Krishnan Raju in Aghaat.
3. Balan K Nair
Balan K Nair won the National Film Award for Best Actor in 1981 for his performance in the movie Oppol. Even though he appeared in most films as villain, he was also noted for his performance in strong character roles. Prior to acting in Malayalam movies, he worked as a stunt double for Bollywood star Dev Anand.
Mullamangalath Parameshwaran Bhattathiripad, commonly known as M. P. Bhatathirippador Premji, was a social reformer, cultural leader and actor. He won the National Award for Best Actor in 1989 for Piravi, for which he also won the Best Actor in Kerala State Film Awards and in Filmfare Awards South.
Mammootty presently holds the record for the Malayali Actor with maximum number of National Film Awards for Best Actor - Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha and Mathilukal (1989), Vidheyan and Ponthan Mada (1993) and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (1998). He has also won 7 Kerala State Film Awards, and 13 Filmfare Awards South. In 1998, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India for his contributions towards the arts.
One of the faces of Malayalam Cinema along with Mammootty, Mohanlal won his first National Award for Bharatham in 1991 and for Vanaprastham in 1999. He has also won six Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor and eight Filmfare Awards for Best Actor. In 2009, he became the first and only cine actor to be awarded the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army of India.
7. Balachandran Menon
Balachandran Menon won the National Film Award for Best Actor in the 1998 film Samaantharangal, which was also directed by him. He has directed 40 movies and acted in over 100 movies. He has introduced many actors into the Malayalam film industry. Actors who made their debut in his films include Shobhana in April 18, Parvathy in Vivahithare Ithile Ithile, Maniyan Pillai Raju in Maniyan Pillai Athava Maniyan Pillai, Karthika in Manicheppu Thurannappol, Annie in Ammayane Sathyam, and Nandini in April 19.
8. Suresh Gopi
Suresh Gopi won the national award for Kaliyattam in 1999. His most popular films include Ekalavyan (1993), Mafia (1993), and Commissioner (1994). Along with Lelam (1997) and Pathram (1999), which were both written by Renji Panicker and directed by Joshi.
Murali won the National Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of a communist freedom fighter and professional weaver in the film Neythukaran (2002). Regarded by film critics as one of the greatest actors in Indian cinema, he was known for his powerful portrayal of character roles, lead roles, and negative roles. Besides acting, he was the chairman of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy from 2006 until his death. He also authored five books, and was also a Sangeetha Nataka Academy award winner.
10. Salim Kumar
Salim Kumar's role as Abu in Adaminte Makan Abu won him both the National Award and Kerala State award for Best Actor for the year 2010. Earlier he had won a Kerala State Film Award for the Second Best Actor in 2005 for his role as Samuel in Achanurangatha Veedu.
11. Suraj Venjaramoodu
Suraj received the National Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in the Malayalam film Perariyathavar. He is a three-time recipient of the Kerala State Film Award for Best Comedy Artist and has starred in over 100 Malayalam Movies.