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Madhu (Malayalam: മധു,Born as Madhavan Nair (മാധവന് നായര്), is a legendary actor in theMalayalam film industry. He is considered as one of the superstars in Malayalam cinema in the earlier era. He has also donned successfully the roles of a Film director, Film producer and at one time owned a film studio.

He started his career as a Hindi lecturer in Scott Christian College, Nagercoil. During that time he chanced upon the a newspaper advertisement inviting applications for the National School of Drama Course. While studying at NSD, he got acquainted with Ramu Karyat, who offered him a role in his upcoming film Moodupadam. After completing the course, Madhu went to Chennai for the make up test for Ramu Karyat's film. There he got an unexpected film offer and he made his debut in the film, Ninmaninja Kalpadukal directed by N N Pisharody in1963.

Madhu also acted in Hindi film Saat Hindustani, which was the debut movie of the prominent Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan. He acted as a Bengali in the film.

He had expressed all faces of life through his various movie characters. But his best was the performance in Chemmeen. Ramu Karyat directedChemmeen and also received the President's Gold Medal for it. It was based on Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai's novel. The tragic character Pareekkutty was perfectly safe in the hands of Madhu. He expressed all the nuances of this delicate character smoothly. Pareekkutty brought a big break in his acting career. At the time it was common for a Malayali person to render the dialogs (in the movie) of Pareekkutty.

Later he distinguished himself as producer, director and storywriter. The screen name of Madhu was given by Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair, another famous Malayalam Actor. In an acting career spanning four decades, Madhu acted in over 300 films.[3] But initial years were of struggle as Madhu entered Malayalam Cinema while Prem Nazir and Sathyan, two great stars, were ruling the roost. Later Madhu captured his own place. Later he was lucky to pursue his profession with many generations like Sukumaran-M G Soman, Mammooty-Mohanlal, Dileep, Jayaram.

Though a well-known actor he was always simple and honest in life. Even though he was a big star in commercial film, he was generous enough to act in parallel movies. He acted in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Swayamvaram, P. N. Menon's Olavum Theeravum etc. Madhu's directorial venture Priya was a trend setter in Malayalam. In this movie he experimented with the main character playing an anti-hero. Madhu later directed about 14 films. He was the owner of once-renowned Uma studio. Madhu produced a movie Mini in 1995, which got National Award.