Muhammad Kutty Ismail, known mononymously as Mammootty, is an Indian film actor best known for his work in the Malayalam film industry. A three-time winner of the National Film Award for Best Actor, Mammootty has appeared in close to 400 films in the course of a career spanning over four decades. He has also won 7 Kerala State Film Awards and numerous Filmfare Awards (South), and is often considered as one of the greatest living actors in the country. For his contributions to Indian cinema, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1998. Early Life
Born Muhammad Kutty Ismail Paniparambil in Chandiroor, Alappuzha, Mammootty is the eldest of son of Ismail Paniparambil and Fatima. He has two younger brothers and three younger sisters. After attending St. Albert`s School, Ernakulam and Sacred Heart College, Thevara, he joined Maharaja`s College for his degree. Subsequently, he graduated with an LL.B. from Government Law College in Ernakulam and practised law for two years before moving to acting. Personal Life
Mammootty married Sulfath in 1979. They have a daughter named Surumi and a son named Dulquer Salmaan
, who is an actor. Movie Career
Mammootty made his acting debut in 1971 with an uncredited role in Anubhavangal Paalichakal. His first credited role came in 1973, with Kaalachakram. It took another seven years for the actor to get his first major break, which came courtesy of films like Mela (1980) and Vilkkanundu Swapnangal (1980). In 1981, Mammootty won his first Kerala State Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the I. V. Sasi film Ahimsa.
The 1980`s marked the most prolific period in the actor`s career, where he appeared in over 200 films and collaborated frequently with the foremost directors and screenwriters of the era like I. V. Sasi, K. G. George, Padmarajan
, M. T. Vasudevan Nair
P. G. Viswambharan
, K. Madhu
and Joshi. Some of his most memorable films during this period included Athirathram (1984), Adiyozhukkukal (1984), Thinkalaazhcha Nalla Divasam (1985), Avidathepole Ivideyum (1985), Yathra (1985), Nirakkoottu (1985), Kariyila Kattu Pole (1986), Aavanazhi (1986), New Delhi (1987), Thaniyavarthanam (1987), Anantaram (1987), Oru CBI Diary Kurippu (1988), Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989) and Nair Saab (1989). While his performance in Adiyozhukkukal and Yathra won him Kerala State Film Awards in consecutive years, the actor won his first National Award for his portrayal of the folk hero Chandu Chekavar in the epic film Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha. The film also went on to win a National Award for Best Screenplay that year.
Critical acclaim and commercial success continued to favour Mammootty in the 1990`s. While blockbusters like Kottayam Kunjachan (1990), Inspector Balram (1991), Dhruvam (1993), The King (1995) and Hitler (1996) reaffirmed his superstardom, offbeat films like Mathilukal (1990), Amaram (1991), Soorya Manasam (1992), Vatsalyam (1993), Vidheyan (1994), Sukrutham (1994), Ponthan Mada (1994) and Bhoothakkannadi (1997) saw the actor turning out stellar performances that proved his versatility. In 1994, Mammootty won his second National Film Award and fifth State Film Award for his roles in Ponthan Mada and Vidheyan. In 1997, he bagged his fifth Filmfare Award for his performance in Bhoothakkannadi. In 1999, Mammootty essayed the role of jurist and social reformer B. R. Ambedkar in the biopic Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
- a performance that earned him his third National Film Award.
The period also saw Mammootty foraying into other film industries - he appeared in as many as nine Tamil films, three Hindi films and three Telugu films in the 1990`s. The most memorable among these was the 1991 Mani Ratnam
- a modern retelling of the epic Mahabharata, where he starred alongside Rajnikanth
. Swathi Kiranam (1992), Dhartiputra (1993), Kilipetchu Ketkava (1993), Aanandham
(2002) and Shikari
(2011) are some among Mammootty`s notable film credits in other languages.
The early 2000`s were marked by a series of box office failures like Dada Sahib (2000), Dubai (2001), Phantom (2002), Pattalam
(2003) and Vajram (2004). Though these duds were interspersed with hits like Valliettan (2000), Chronic Bachelor (2003) and Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004), it was Blessy
`s Kaazhcha (2004) that marked Mammootty`s return to form as an actor. The film told the story of the unique bond between a villager in Kerala and a 6-year Gujarati boy who gets separated from his family after the Bhuj earthquake. Upon its release, Kaazhcha was well-received by the critics and the audience alike, and Mammootty won his 6th State Film Award for his portrayal of the unassuming, kind-hearted villager named Madhavan.
In 2005, Mammootty starred in the titular role in Anwar Rasheed
`s Rajamanikyam, which went on to become one of the highest-grossing films in his career. However, this was succeeded by a string of commercial failures like Bus Conductor (2005), Prajapathi
(2006), Bhargava Charitham Moonam Khandam (2006) and Pothen Vava (2006). Among his 2007 releases were Ranjith`s Kaiyoppu, Shyamaprasad
`s Ore Kadal
and the comedy-drama Kadha Parayumbol
, all of which opened to positive reviews.
The actor reunited with the award-winning team of Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha in 2009, for the historical drama Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja. The film told the story of the 18th century warrior prince Pazhassi Raja and his brave rebellion against the English East India Company which culminated in the Cotiote War. Made in a budget of rupee 27 crores, it was the most expensive Malayalam film at the time and won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam that year. In the same year, Mammootty appeared in the anthology film Kerala Cafe
and the mystery film Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathirakolapathakathinte Katha
, both of which received praise for their refreshing storylines and narrative brilliance. Paleri Manikyam went on to win four Kerala State Film Awards, including a Best Actor Award for Mammootty - his fifth Best Actor Award and his seventh overall.
One of the most memorable roles in the actor`s career came in 2010, in Ranjith`s comedy-drama Pranchiyettan & the Saint
. The film was a blockbuster, and has since gained cult status among filmgoers. The ensemble action-comedy Pokkiri Raja
and the comedy drama Best Actor
, which came out in the same year, also did well at the box office. This was followed by a major career slump, with many of the actor`s movies failing to make a mark both critically and commercially. Mammootty had 33 releases between 2011 and 2016, most of which tanked at the box office and were met with negative reviews. Notable exceptions during this period included drama films like Immanuel
(2013), Kunjananthante Kada
(2014) and Pathemari
(2015), which underlined Mammootty`s calibre as an artist. His performances in Varsham and Pathemari earned Mammootty back to back Filmfare Awards (South) for Best Actor, while Kunjananthante Kada and Munnariyippu earned him Asiavision Awards for Best Actor in 2013 and 2014.
The action-drama The Great Father
and Ranjith`s Puthan Panam
are some of Mammootty`s projects in 2017.
In the year 2018, Mammoothy made a cameo appearance in the Malayalam-language biographical sports drama Captain and starred in Tamil drama films such as Street Lights, Parole, Uncle, Abrahamine Santhathikal and Oru Kuttanadan. His other acting credits include Unda (2019), Pathinettam Padi (2019), Peranbu (2019) and Mamangam (2019). His 2020 release includes Shylock. His other projects include The Priest
(2021). His other notable works include Bheeshma Parvam (2022), CBI 5: The Brain
(2022), Puzhu (2022), Priyan Ottathilanu (2022), Rorschach
(2022), Christopher (2023), Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam (2023), Kadugannawa Oru Yatra (2023) and Bilal (2023).