In the early times of Malayalam cinema, supporting roles, though mostly donned by established theatre artists, did not have any noted supporting actors. In the 1960s and 1970s several supporting actors like Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Adoor Bhasi, Bahadoor, Balan K. Nair, Adoor Bhavani and Aranmula Ponnamma came into the scene. Most of them went on to have lifelong careers. In the 1980s and 1990s many more joined them, notably Thilakan, Nedumudi Venu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Biju Menon, Vijayaraghavan, Innocent, Siddique, Jagadish, Kuthiravattam Pappu, Manoj K. Jayan, Murali, Narendra Prasad, Rajan P. Dev, Sukumari, K.P.A.C. Lalitha and Bindu Panicker. Some of them had short careers with title roles as well.
Despite the presence of a number of talented actors, Malayalam films have only won 2 out of the 24 National Film Awards for Best Supporting Actor so far given away, as of 2007. Thilakan (1988) and Nedumudi Venu (1991) are the only actors to win the award. The same is not the case with female actors. They have won 6 out the 24 National Film Awards for Best Supporting Actress given away, trailed only by Hindi (10 awards). The winners are K.P.A.C. Lalitha (1991, 2001), Santha Devi (1992), Aranmula Ponnamma (1996), Sheela (2005) and Urvashi (2006).
Read more about this topic: Malayalam Cinema
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