All in all, there were 13 movies produced by Madhu, under the Uma Arts banner, from his Uma Studio. As a producer, I think it was a uniquely daring initiative by an actor of those times, hardly a decade into the industry, construct a full-fledged movie studio, move into direction and then production under his own banner ! There is no one whom I can think of who has undertaken this “creative gamble” if I can call it and was able to pull it off in the tenure it ran. When you think of it, Madhu’s venture came on the lines of the two production institutions of early Malayalam Cinema, Merry Land Studio in Thiruvananthapuram and Udaya Studio at Aalapuzha.
With his refreshing philosophy on what constitutes a movie producer, Madhu, I guess brought a different philosophy to the rules of film making. His stint as a movie producer goes back to his days at the National School of Drama (of which he was one from premier graduating class), and was also the top three in his class. He shares in an interview where the institution allowed the top three from the class to ‘specialise’ in any chosen field from the curriculum and Madhu chose production. [ I checked out the Alumni page of NSD and he is right there, in the 1961 batch, as PM Nair ! What a proud moment 🙂 ] He must have been one of the few professionals in Malayalam cinema who came in with a clear vision in mind on what he wanted to do if things went his way. And I guess it did, rather splendidly.
|Kaamam Krodham Moham||1975||Madhu|
|Prabhatha Sandhya||1979||P Chandrakumar|
|Grihalakshmi||1981||M Krishnan Nair|
|Archana Teacher||1981||PN Menon|
|Njaan Ekanaanu||1982||P Chandrakumar|
His favorite director seems to have been P Chandrakumar, one of the most commercially viable directing hands till the 80’s, though post that he somehow lost that magic and is now mostly known to the current generations as the director of the “soft-porn Biblical tale in Malayalam, Aadi Papam !” His 1982 hit, Njaan Ekanaanu from Uma Studios , also saw the entry of a young KS Chitra singing playback for Malayalam cinema, along with the debut of Sathyan Anthikkad the director, as the lyricist ! All the songs of the movie have turned out be timeless classics, with the music of MG Radhakrishnan.
One of my favorites from Njaan Ekanaanu, O Mruduley.
Yusuf Ali Kecheri’s debut as a Screenplay writer for Sindooracheppu (1971), also saw the movie bagging the Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film in 1971. Gruhalaksmi (1981) was a very interesting line up with Madhu getting M Krishnan Nair directing the movie, based on a story by Adoor Gopalkrishnan ! And Archana Teacher also saw Venu Nagavalli as the lead in a Madhu production. After two lack-lustre productions, Rathilayam and Udayam Padinjaru, his swansong as a producer was Mini, a Children’s film (if ever there was one category like that – for the life of me, I just can’t seem to grasp the logic behind calling any film a Children’s film), which also won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Children’s Film for the year 1995 and the National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare.
The Uma Studio campus was brought over and repurposed, converting it into the erstwhile Asianet Studio Complex to the best of my knowledge. As a producer, Madhu reveals that all his films were NEVER a liability as a business venture and a product, regardless of the drubbing the last few got at the box-office, they still managed to make a handsome profit for the studios.
I think, in the end, as a producer, that’s what mattered.
Also read : Madhu | Actor . Director . Producer . Legend .
Also read : Madhu | The Director
Also read : Madhu | The Actor | Across the years