One night in Kozhikode many years ago, sitting on the sofa of his hotel room, Madhu told me something that one normally wouldnt expect from a star. No one has ever gone to see a film just to see me, he said, smiling.
He wasnt being overly modest; he was trying to analyse why he succeeded as an actor even at a time when Prem Nazir and Sathyan were dominating the scene.
But, he was underestimating his own stardom, though. He has loyal fans, whose admiration for him hasnt diminished even after decades.
One of the few trained actors of his time he studied at the National School of Drama at New Delhi. In addition to his stellar performances, he has also made a mark behind the camera, as a director, producer and studio-proprietor. He has been a presence in Malayalam cinema for the past seven decades. The actor recently launched a website, www.madhutheactor.com to mark his 86th birthday.
The website would offer glimpses into the history of Malayalam cinema.
Besides information on the actor, one could also watch videos of his songs. He has featured in some of the evergreen songs such as Paathiravaayilla... (Manaswini), Omalaale kandu njaan... (Sindooracheppu), Anuraaga gaanam pole... (Udyogastha), Apaara sundara neelakaasham... (Vithukal), Maanikyaveenuyaamaayen... (Kattupookkal), Maanasa maine varoo... (Chemmeen), Swarna gopuara narthakee shilpam... (Divyadarshanam), Njaan ninne premikkunnu... (Sharashayya), Pushpamangalayaaam... (Nakhangal).
The site is a storehouse of vintage photographs, not only from his landmark films, but also from the lesser-known ones. It has over 450 photographs. And I will be adding more, says P Krishnakumar, Madhus son-in-law, who has put together the website. Collecting the photos was the hardest part. But, some of his die-hard fans, like Jayakumar and Raja Warrier, have been of great help to me.
Krishnakumar says he decided to create a website for Madhu because he felt that was the best way to chronicle the actors life and his contribution to Malayalam cinema. The response has been tremendous, he says. Within a couple of days of the launch, the website has received more than 80,000 hits that too without much of a publicity.
He adds Madhu has also liked the content. He also comes from a generation of actors who didnt have tools like social media to promote themselves, he says. But he always welcomed technology. He used to go to a private institute in Thiruvananthapuram to learn computers back in the early 1990s.
Krishnakumar says he would be updating the website regularly. I would soon be uploading a comic strip, starring Madhu, that was serialised in a Malayalam film magazine, he says.