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Top 5 Performances of the Malayalam Megastar

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Born Muhammad Kutty Panaparambil Ismail, the Malayali actor, who is known by his stage name Mammootty, turns 70 today. The three-time National Award-winning actor and superstar began his career with the film Anubhavangal Paalichakal (1971) and has since been a part of more than 400 features, over four decades. He has also acted in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu films as well as those in Hindi and English. On the occasion of his birthday, we look at the top five films of this Padma Shri recipient.

Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989)

Malayali filmmaker Hariharan directed this historical epic, which received four National Film Awards. Mammooty plays Chanthu Chevakar, a sixteenth-century Keralite warrior, known as a treacherous character. The film, however, depicts Chanthu in a sympathetic light as a misunderstood historical character. Mammootty won his first National Film Award for this film.

Mathilukal (1989)

Mammootty’s first National Film Award was for his performances in both Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha and Mathilukal. The latter film by Adoor Gopalakrishnan also won four National Film Awards. Mammootty plays the protagonist Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, a prisoner who falls for a female inmate, Narayani, whom he never meets and who appears only as a voice in the film.

Vidheyan (1994)

This Adoor Gopalakrishnan feature is about the dysfunctional relationship between a slave named Thommy (M.R. Gopakumar) and his cruel master Bhaskara Patelar (Mammootty). Patelar forces Thommy to kill the former’s wife Saroja (Tanvi Azmi) and sexually abuses Thommy’s wife. Mammootty won his second National Film Award jointly for this film and Ponthan Mada.

Ponthan Mada (1994)

This T.V. Chandran-directed film also won four National Film Awards, including one for Mammootty. The film is a contrast to Vidheyan as it explores the compassionate relationship between a colonial landlord (Naseeruddin Shah) and a low-caste man (Mammootty).

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar (2000)

Mammootty plays the title character of Dr B.R. Ambedkar in this biographical film about the Father of the Indian Constitution who fought against the discrimination of Dalits. Mammootty received his third National Film Award for this role.

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