Often referred to as Malayalam cinema’s only female superstar, Manju Warrier is one of the most successful artists from Kerala. The actor and producer made her film debut in 1995 at 17 years of age with Sakshyam. She has starred in around 40 films to date. She is the recipient of several awards including one National Film Award, one Kerala State Film Award and seven Filmfare Awards South. She is the only Malayalam actress to win the Filmfare Awards South four times in a row (1996–99) and a record seven times overall.
ON THE OCCASION OF HER BIRTHDAY, WE LOOK AT FIVE OF HER TOP FILMS:
EE PUZHAYUM KADANNU (1996)
In this romantic drama by director Kamal, Warrier plays Anjali who looks after her grandmother and two unmarried elder sisters. She falls in love with a man named Gopi (Dileep) but refuses to marry him unless her elder sisters get married. Gopi attempts to honour Anjali’s wishes but ends up accidentally committing a murder. Warrier won the Kerala State Film Award and Filmfare Award for her performance.
This film directed by the late A.K. Lohithadas deals with a man named Vishwanathan (Mohanlal), who accidentally kills a man in Mumbai. He visits the deceased man’s family to deliver the news but falls for the victim’s sister Bhanu (Manju Warrier). Warrier secured the Best Actress trophies at both Filmfare Awards South and Asianet Film Awards.
KANNEZHUTHI POTTUM THOTTU (1998)
The actress plays Bhadra, the daughter of a trade union leader, murdered by Natesan (Thilakan), a landlord. Her mother committs suicide to escape the clutches of Natesan. Bhadra grows up, nurturing her hatred of Natesan and becomes a domestic help at the latter’s home to kill him and his reprobate son, Uthaman (Biju Menon). Warrier received her only National Film Award for this film.
HOW OLD ARE YOU? (2014)
Following the success of Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu, Warrier got married and took a 15-year hiatus from films. She returned to acting with this Rosshan Andrrews film, How Old Are You? Here, she plays a middle-aged clerk who rebels against the duties imposed on her by society and family.
Warrier portrayed the famous poet Kamala Das in this biographical film from director Kamal. Her performance received praise from critics, and she won a host of Best Actress trophies.