O. Madhavan was a man of great honour, not only for his achievements in the Indian Theatre, but also for his social life. He was one of the founders and a prominent leader of the Communist Party of India. Born in 1922, he was the founder of the very famous Kalidasa Kala Kendram, a drama company. He was also the winner of Kerala State Award for Best Actor in the year 2000 for his role of a communist in the film Sayahnam. He was associated with the Malayalam theatre for over 40 years. He was married to Vijayakumari, also an actress. He had a son who is also a popular actor himself. Apart from him, he had two daughters named Sandhya Rajendran, and Jayashree. Sandhya’s husband is also an actor.
Although he starred in a very limited movies all his life he devoted himself for the good of theatre and Malayalam cinema. From his small bag of movies, there were films like Kalam Marunnu(1955), Doctor(1962), Kottupookkal(1965), and Sayahnam(2000), that were a treat to watch and also proved his worth as a very valueable actor.
Before getting into theatre, in his college days, he was an activist of Student’s Federation at S.N. College in Kollam. All his life, apart from being a renowned name in the Malayalam Theatre, he was also equally associated and devoted to the Communist Party. In fact in many of his movies, he played the role of a communist.
In his first acting venture, he acted as a communist leader and a landlord. Also in his award winning movie Sayahnam, he depicted the agony of a communist leader in his old age. This movie won a total of 7 awards and was appreciated amply. Even his last movie depicted him to be a communist leader. These movies in which he was associated and acted as a communist helped a lot in stirring the masses in joining the communist movement. Not only his films, even his plays were related to the communist party and provided enough assistance in the establishment of the Communist Movement in Kerala.
He was a true noble man who died at the age of 81 on August 20, 2005 in a hospital due to prolonged illness. After his death his body was brought to his native, where the last rituals were performed the next day. All of Malayalam cinema, and the politicians had a day of sorrow upon his death. He was among those very few people who are humble even after getting successful. A theatre studio is to be opened in the memory of this gem of a man in his hometown. Also the unveiling of a statue at Kappalandimukku Junction in Kollam in 2012 by Kerala C.M.
reminds the youth of the values of what a respectable person he was.