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Jayaram is a versatile actor who is capable of handling a variety of roles in Malayalam movies. Though he is an actor with a major presence in Malayalam film industry, he has acted in some Tamil films also. He is also an accomplished percussionist and a mimicry artist. In fact, he got the much needed break in the Malayalam film industry through his association with the Cochin Kala Bhavan, which is a platform for the mimicry artists to showcase their talents. Being a versatile actor, he could handle different roles, ranging from that of comedian to that of a villain, with ease. That is why he could remain in the film world for very long time. On the other hand, the other people have perished in the competition due to their typecast roles in the films. Over the years, he cultivated for himself a family man image through his movies. Because of this, he is able to build rapport with family audiences in the state. Hence, giving a role for Jayaram is considered a safe bet by many producers and directors.
Jayaram was born in a Tamil Brahmin family settled in Perumbavoor in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. His parents were Subramaniyam and Thankam. His siblings are Venkit Ram and Manjula. Right from the childhood, he was interested in mimicry art form, and he used to mimic the sounds of the objects and animals nearby. Later in his life, he decided to join the Cochin Kala Bhavan for showcasing his talent in the mimicry art form. In Cochin Kala Bhavan, he was with the artists like Harishree Ashokan, Machan Varghese, Kalabhavan Santhosh, etc. They later migrated to the film world.
At the age of 22 years after completing his college education, he was introduced into the field of Malayalam film industry by a scriptwriter and filmmaker by the name Padmarajan. He gave the new comer Jayaram a prominent role in a look-different movie Aparan. He subsequently acted in two more Padmarajan movies such as Moonam Pakkam and Innale. During this period, he developed good rapport with the director. Due to this association, Jayaram got many different roles in films. Till his death in 1991, Padmarajan acted as a mentor for this upcoming artist.
Career in the Movie Industry
Apart from Padmarajan, the other director who gave initial breakthrough for Jayaram was Rajasenan. Looking at the performance of Jayaram in Padmarajan-directed movies, Rajasenan decided to provide an opportunity for Jayaram in his movie Meleparambil Aanveedu. Fortunately for Jayaram, the film became an instant hit in the state. After the success of this movie, the stature of Jayaram rose to such a level that he was considered as one of the superstars in the Malayalam movie industry. Other films made by Rajasenan in which Jayaram did the title roles are CID Unnikrishnan B.A., B.Ed, Aadhyathe Kanmani, Aniyan Bhava Chetan Bhava, Kadhanayakan, Kadinjool Kalyanam, and Swapna Lokathe Balabhaskaran.
He even acted in films directed by Kamal. His performances in Kamal-directed movies such as Pradeshika Vaarthakal, Shubha Yathra, and Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal were noted with reverence by the film lovers. Another strange coincidence in these movies was that he acted with Parvathy, who later became his wife in real life. In all these films, Ranjith was the scriptwriter. After these movies, he teamed up with Viji Thampy and Ranjith to give another hit movie Witness. With the success of this movie, this team produced another movie Nanma Niranjavan Sreenivasan. In this film, Jayaram played the role of a police constable who was searching for a criminal. The role of this criminal was perfected by the actor Mukesh in this movie.
He also acted in Sathyan Anthikad movies such as "Pon Muttayidunna Tharavu", "Artham", "Thalayanamanthram", and "Sandesham". In the latter two movies, he co-starred with the famous scriptwriter, actor and director Sreenivasan. After the success of earlier movies, Sathyan Anthikad teamed up with Jayaram to make movies such as "Thooval Kottaram", "Veendum Chila Veetukaryangal", "Irattakuttikalude Achan", "Yathrakarude Shradhaikku", "Bhagyadevatha", "Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal", "Manasinakkare", and "Kadha Thudarunnu". In some films, he did the role of even a supporting actor as well. A case in point is the Joshi-directed film "Dhruvam". In this movie, the title role was handled by the Mega Star Mammootty.
Subsequently, he acted in other films of Viji Thampi as well. They include "Thooval Sparsham", "Nagarangalil Chennu Raaparkam", and "Summer in Bethlehem". He also co-starred with Mohanlal in movies such as "Ulsavapittennu" and "Advaitham". In the movie Friends, he co-starred with Sreenivasan and Mukesh to give one of the best Malayalam movies celebrating the value of friendship. In the 21st century, he acted in movies like "Njaan Salperu Narayanan Kutty", "Finger Print", "Moonamathoral", "Alice in Wonderland", "Madhuchandralekha", and "Anchil Oral Arjunan". In the recent years, he played important roles in "Thupakki" and "Veruthe Oru Bharya", "Happy Husbands", "Makeup Man", "Seniors", and "Chinatown".
With his success in Malayalam film industry, he got roles from even Tamil movie directors. In fact, he acted in "Gokulam", "Priyanka", "Kolangal", "Purushalakshanam", "Pathini" and "Murai Maman". He even acted along with famous actor Kamal Hassan in the movies "Thenali" and "Panchathanthiram". Recently, he has done more supporting roles in Tamil, which include antagonist roles in "Dhaam Dhoom" and "Saroja", and a comedian's role in "Aegan".
Awards and Recognitions
Since his debut in the Malayalam film industry, he has done many memorable roles. Because of this, many awards started to come in his way. Some of the awards he got are listed below.
Jayaram is a flexible actor, a percussionist and a mimicry artist. Due to his presentable figure, he has become the mascot of cine-going families of Kerala. He is capable of acting in different roles, ranging from a family figure to a villainous figure. Due to this capability, he has been able to weather the tough competitions in the field to remain in contention. Due to his appeal to the family audience, he has been able to bag multiple projects. The producers and directors can safely bank on him to deliver at the box-office. In his formative years, he was with Cochin Kala Bhavan, a platform for the upcoming artists to perform and showcase their talents.