M N Nambiar
M N Nambiar - Profiles of Cine Artist

M. N. Nambiar was a film actor in Tamil cinema and had been in the film industry for more than 50 years. His first film was 'Bhaktha Ramadoss', shot in 1935 in Hindi and Tamil, where he played as a comedian along with T.K.Sampangi. Nambiar has worked with seven generations of actors from Balaiyah to Manoj (Bharathiraaja's son).

His first pay was Rs.3 in the "Boys Company." He would retain Re 1 and send Rs.2 to his mother. A man of very limited needs, he has not eaten outside of his house. He is extremely health conscious.

He made quite a statement in the early 50s with his portrayal of 11 roles in ‘Digambara Samiyar.’ His arresting performance in films such as ‘Manthiri Kumari,’ ‘Velaikkari,’ ‘Ayirathil Oruvan,’ ‘Thillana Mohanambal,’ ‘Missiamma’ and ‘Nenjam Marappadillai’ paved way for a very successful career that spanned over five decades.

A majority of the more than 1000 films that he has done is in Tamil, though he has acted in Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi, besides an English film `Jungle' (with Rod Cameron, the film's hero, directed by William Burke) in which he appears in a few brief scenes. The film was released in 1952. The Hindi film he acted in was a remake of the Tamil `Kanavane Kankanda Deivam.'

After becoming popular in Tamil films he started his own drama troupe called Nambiar Nataka Mandram. They staged two plays — `Kaviyin Kanavu' and a comedy play `Kalyana Supermarket.'

M.N. Nambiar was a rare personality who was a cruel ruthless fellow in the screen and a very pious man in the real life. He was pure vegetarian and a teetotaler. He was also an ardent devotee of Sabarimala Sri Ayyappan. He has had a long association with the temple, and visited the shrine more than 65 years over the last half a century; this has led to him being called Maha Guruswamy. His colleagues noted that he died during the famous Sabarimala season and it may be due to the blessing of his Lord.

His favourite films remain `Aayirathil Oruvan' with MGR, `Ambikapathi' with Sivaji Ganesan, `Missiyamma' with Gemini Ganesan, `Nenjam Marappathillai' directed by Sridhar and `Thooral Ninu Pochu' with Bhagyaraj. This was the film that made him do character roles, something that he continued to do till his death. He also acted as hero in two films `Kalyani' and `Kavitha' produced by Modern Theatres.

He has done stage, films and also serials such as `Velan.' When it comes to acting, he supposedly likes all the actors; but of special mention are M. R. Radha and Savitri. Both, in his opinion, were brilliant in their own way.

Films Acted

Aayirathil oruvan
Uthama Puthiran
Ambikapathy (1957)
Enga Veetu Pillai
Mannavan vandhanadi
Thooral ninnu pochu
Pallandu vaazhga
Swamy ayyappan
Ninaithadai mudippavan
Ulagam sutrum vaaliban
Savale samali
Raja Raja Cholan
Nenjam marappadhillai
En thambi
Paasa malar
Anbe vaa
Makkalai petra magaraasi
Velaikari (1949)
Kanjan (1947)
Rajakumari (1947)
Abhimanyu (1948)
Manthrikumari (1950)
Thigambara Samiyar (1950)
Sarvadhikari (1951)
Kalyani (1952)
Abhimanyu (1948)
Vidyapathi (1946)
Kaviyin Kanavu
Avasara Police 100(1991)
 Gentleman (1992)
Bhaktha Ramadass (1935)
Vinnukum Mannukum (2001)
Varushamellam Vasantham (2002)

Family Background

Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar 5 March 1919 — 19 November 2008 to Kelu Nambiar and Lakshmi in Cherupazhassi village, Kannur in a Nambiar family of North Malabar a descendent of Pazhassi Raja family. While he was a child his father died. He moved to live and study in Ooty with his elder sister and brother in law. He became interested in acting when he was 13 and he joined Nawab Rajamanikkam's troupe. From then on acting became the only thing that occupied him.