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Malayalam Movies and Songs


Born25th July, 1939
Died16th November, 1980
Native PlaceKollam
CareerCast (120)
First MoviePostmaane Kaanaanilla (1972)
Last MovieKolilakkam (1981)

Krishnan Nair, better known by his stage name Jayan, was considered as a superstar in Malayalam cinema during the 1970s. He had prominent roles as an action hero. He is also touted as the first action hero in Malayalam cinema.

Jayan was born in 1938 in Kollam, Travancore as the first child of his father Thevalli, Kottaram Veetil Madhavan Pillai and mother Bharathiyamma. His birth-name was Krishan Nair. He had a younger brother Soman Nair. Jayan's formal education ended 10th grade at Kollam Govt. Boys High school, then he joined the Indian Navy (Boy's Navy). The first accolades for his acting skills reached him when he was a Naval sailor. He used to act in plays during various functions like anniversaries. The encouragement from his friends and colleagues in Navy gave him the desire to act in films. Jayan served the Indian Navy for 16 years. Then he left the Navy to try his hand in the film industry.

The name, "Jayan" was given to him by "Jose Prakash", a noted villain actor of yesteryear Malayalam cinema. Jayan started his career by acting in minor roles. His first film was Shapa Moksham (1974). Jayan got his first major break with Thacholi Ambu (1978) in which he acted as a co-hero. What made Jayan a superstar was his negative hero role in Sarapanjaram (1979). He catapulted to fame riding on Machismo roles that endeared him to the masses, and he established himself as one of the most popular Malayalam film actors of his time.

Jayan was very different from the typical Malayalam film stars of the then time in the sense that he had a good physique that befitted an action hero. With Jayan the advent of Serious Action movies began. The usual theme of family melodrama and "Romance-Songs-Running-in-between-trees" ended. Movies exploited his masculine physique and often could one see him appeared bare-chest in most of the scenes. His onscreen dress code, most famous for the Elvis bellbottoms, his masculine image and the nature of his death turned him into something of a legend in Kerala. Jayan was also known for having a very different and unique method of dialogue delivery and he has contributed many memorable lines to Malayalam film history.

In the late '90s and the early part of the 21st century, there was a resurgence in the popularity of Jayan in Kerala. A whole new generation of people (mostly teenagers) developed a Jayan "fad" and his old movies came into prominence again. This resurgence was mostly because of popular mimicry stage artists in the State, whose imitations of the star quickly caught on, and very soon, similar shows became common place in popular culture, mostly in college stage events, television programs and mimicry stage shows. This fad quickly came under criticism since most of them made a mockery of the star's typical mannerisms.

Jayan was killed in an accident on 16 November 1980, on the sets of the movie Kolilakkam. The climax scene of the movie was being filmed in Sholavaram, near Chennai. He was 42 then and at the height of his popularity. Jayan always did the stunts himself, and for this movie he was performing a particularly dangerous stunt that involved him boarding an airborne helicopter from a moving motorbike. The shot was accepted by the director in the first take; altogether 3 shots were filmed. According to the Production executive of the movie "Kolilakkam", Jayan insisted on yet another re-take as he was not satisfied with its perfection. During the re-take, the helicopter suddenly lost its balance and crashed to the ground along with Jayan who later succumbed to his injuries. There have been some conspiracy theories regarding the circumstances of his death. There are unverified claims that some colleagues who were jealous of his popularity conspired against him, though it was clearly established that it was an accident.

The memories of this popular star today stands immortalized in Malayalam film history with his loud, colourful, dress code, machismo mannerisms and unique speaking style together with the sudden resurgence of popularity nearly three decades after his death.

Madhu, a famous actor prominent in the 70s once said in an interview "Jayan will be masculine and young forever. No one can see him as an old man ever".

Prepared by: Dr. Susie Pazhavarical