On the eve of one of Kerala’s most popular icon, superstar Mammootty’s 70th birthday, can we say that the good old adage of “behind every successful man is a woman” is true? Analysed, it appears it’s true for the dapper actor.
Even though comparisons between his arch screen rival Mohanlal are often made, in the final analysis, Mammootty edges out Mohanlal by a whisker.
Even though it might be sheer coincidence, that Mammootty’s first film in 1971 — ‘Anubhavengel Pallichekel’, turned out to be matinee idol Sathyan’s last, it was not until 1980, that Mammootty — popularly known as Mammukka — was noticed in ‘Vilkanundo Swapnangel’, scripted by another legend MT Vasudevan Nair.
Last month, ‘Mammukka’ completed 50 years in the industry. A look into the actor’s career reveals that it was after his marriage to Sulfath in 1979, that his acting career really took off. It was in 1979 that his first full-fledged role as a lead actor in ‘Vilkanundo Swapnangel’ wooed the box office.
Mammootty has had no reason to look back since and has so far done over 400 films in Malayalam and other South Indian languages, besides in English and Hindi.
The “living legend” has won three National Film Awards for Best Actor, seven Kerala State Film Awards and 13 Filmfare Awards South. In 1998, the Government of India awarded him the Padma Shri for his contributions to the art.
Even though all know the veteran actor is affable and kind-hearted, they cannot deny “he is slightly haughty” and one of his co-stars, who has acted with him in numerous films and knows him inside out, even jokingly said, “He generally does not like anyone to wear a better dress or possess a mobile phone, which is better or more expensive than what he has”. But in the same breath, he also said, when it comes to charity, he does it without a soul knowing it.
Mammootty has had no dearth of films and despite his age, all producers still make a beeline to sign him.