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Warrier in 2018
10 September 1979|
Nagercoil, Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, India
|Residence||Pullu, Kerala, India|
|Alma mater||Kannur University|
|Years active||1995–1999; 2014–present|
(m. 1998; div. 2015)
|Relatives||Madhu Warrier (brother)|
Manju Warrier (pronounced: Manju Vāryar; born 10 September 1979) is an Indian film actress and dancer in the Malayalam film industry.
She made her acting debut in Sakshyam (1995) at the age of 16. Her most well-known films are: Thooval Kottaram (1996), Sallapam (1996), Ee Puzhayum Kadannu (1996), Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu (1997), Pranayavarnangal (1998), Kanmadam (1998), Summer in Bethlehem (1998), Pathram (1999), Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu (1999), How Old Are You? (2014), and Udaharanam Sujatha (2017). Warrier won the National Film Award – Special Mention for her performance as Bhadra in Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu. She also won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her performance as Anjali in Ee Puzhayum Kadannu, along with five Filmfare Awards for Best Actress, a record in that category.
Warrier married actor Dileep in 1998 and quit acting. In 2015, they divorced. She has since made a comeback to cinema after a 14-year break with the critically and commercially successful film How Old Are You?, which won her many accolades, notably her record setting fifth Filmfare Award for Best Actress - Malayalam.
Manju Warrier was born on 10 September 1979 in Nagercoil, Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, India. Her father, Madhavan Warrier, worked as an accountant with Sundaram Finance's Nagercoil regional office. She did her primary schooling at CSI Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Nagercoil. After her father was promoted, they returned to Kerala and settled in Kannur. She studied at Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Kannur and later at Chovva Higher Secondary School. She secured 527/600 marks in SSLC, with a 98% score in Mathematics. She later graduated with a degree from Sree Narayana College, Kannur through distant education. She has an elder brother, Madhu Warrier, who is also an actor and producer.
Even at school, Warrier showed extra ordinary talent in dance, and won many awards. She was conferred with the Kalathilakam in the Kerala Youth Festival for two years. She first appeared in a television serial Moharavam which was telecast on Doordarshan.
In the first half of her on-screen career, Manju featured in 20 films over a three-year period with prominent directors and superstars producing a number of performances that earned her equal billing with the male superstars in Malayalam. She played each of these roles with consummate ease, probably the only actress at the time who could carry a film on her shoulders.
At the age of 17, she debuted in the film Sakshyam (1995). Later at the age of 18, she acted in the movie Sallapam (1996), co-starring Dileep, whom she later married. Her performance in the movie Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu won a special mention from the jury for the National Film Awards. Her other films include: Kanmadam and Aaraam Thampuran with Mohanlal, Ee Puzhayum Kadannu and Kudamattam with her now ex-husband Dileep, Summer In Bethlahem, Pranayavarnangal, Pathram and Kaliyattam with Suresh Gopi, and Irattakuttikalude Achan, Kaliveedu, Thooval Kottaram and Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu with Jayaram. She won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in the movie Ee Puzhayum Kadannu. The film won three Kerala State Film Awards. In Kanmadam, she portrayed the role of a high-tempered blacksmith named Bhanu, which also starred Mohanlal. In her film Daya, Warrier's character is disguised as a man. Her role as the strong-willed Devika in Pathram was popular with audiences. It was the highest grossing film of 1999 and played for over over 250 days in theatres. Her last film before she took a sabbatical was Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu. Her portrayal of Bhadra, who takes revenge against Natesan who killed her parents, is considered her best acting performance to date. She was nominated at the National Film Awards but lost to Shabana Azmi. She was awarded the Special Mention (acting) for her performance.
On 24 October 2012, she performed Kuchipudi in the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple. Later in July 2013, she acted in a commercial with Amitabh Bachchan. Her comeback announcement was greeted with much fanfare by fans and the media. She later appeared in many advertisements for Kalyan Jewellers alongside Amitabh Bacchan, Aishwarya Rai, Akkineni Nagarjuna and Prabhu Ganesan. She recently published a book titled Sallapam.
She made her much awaited return to cinema with Rosshan Andrrews's How Old Are You in 2014. Warrier played the character of Nirupama Rajeev, a UD clerk in the Revenue Department. The film earned positive reviews from critics and was well-received by audiences. She received numerous accolades and became the goodwill ambassador for many ventures related to organic farming, inspired by her film. Her next film was Sathyan Anthikad's Ennum Eppozhum which reunites her with Mohanlal after a gap of 17 years. It was a moderate hit. Her next project was Rani Padmini by Aashiq Abu along with Rima Kallingal, released in October 2015. The film did not fre well at the box office as it faced strong competition from other movies like Ennu Ninte Moideen and Amar Akbar Anthony. She acted in Jo and the Boy, her last release of 2015, as an animator. Her first full-length role in 2016 was Rajesh Pillai's Vettah, a mind-game thriller, in which she appeared in the role of a police officer for the first time in her career. She acted in a Sanskrit stage drama based on Abhijñānaśākuntalam. The play was presented by the Sopanam Institute of Performing Arts & Research, founded by the late Kavalam Narayana Panicker, and was hosted by Swaralaya. Warrier debuted as a producer as well and the play was produced under her banner, Manju Warrier Productions. Her next film was Karinkunnam 6S, in which she played the character of Vandana, a volleyball coach. She also sang a song for cancer patients for the show she hosted Kerala Can(Manorama News), written by Ratheesh Vega.
Her first release in 2017 was C/O Saira Banu where she played a post woman. The film also marked the comeback of Amala Akkineni in Malayalam after more than two decades. Her performance won critical acclaim and the movie was an average grosser. On 28 September, her next film Udaharanam Sujatha released in Kerala. It received positive reviews from critics and a warm response audiences. She received great praise for her portrayal of Sujatha, mother of a tenth class student and a person who does multiple jobs to ensure a good life for her daughter. Her next release in 2017 was Villain, an emotional thriller where she appears as Dr. Neelima, an independent, idealistic woman and wife of Mathew Manjooran played by Mohanlal. The film went on to set the record for the highest first day collections for a Malayalam film. It received mixed response from critics and a positive feedback from the audience. Directors N. Lingusamy, Mysskin, Pandiraj, Thiru, and Suseenthiran were all positive about the film, particularly praising the actors' performances and the production.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|Ee Puzhayum Kadannu||Anjali|
|Thooval Kottaram||Devaprabha Varma|
|Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu||Meenakshi|
|Summer in Bethlehem||Abhirami|
|Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu||Bhadra|
|2014||How Old Are You||Nirupama Rajeev||comeback film|
|2015||Ennum Eppozhum||Adv. Deepa Rajeev|
|Jo and the Boy||Jo / Joan Mary John|
|Paavada||Babu's fiancée||Cameo appearance|
|Vettah||Commissioner Sribala IPS|
|Karinkunnam 6'S||Vandana Aby|
|2017||C/O Saira Banu||Saira Banu|
|Udaharanam Sujatha||Sujatha Krishnan|
|Villain||Dr. Neelima Mathew|
|"Govardhana Gireesham"||Aaram Thampuran||1997||-||Muthuswami Dikshitar (traditional)||Traditional, Raveendran (for the film)|
|"Vezhambal Mamazha"||Chingapoovu (album)||-||Mohanlal||Bichu Thirumala||Berny-Ignatius|
|"Pakal Kinakkal"||Chingapoovu (album)||-||Solo||Bichu Thirumala||Berny-Ignatius|
|"Chembazhukka"||Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu||1999||Dr. K. J. Yesudas, Kalabhavan Mani||Kavalam Narayana Panicker||M. G. Radhakrishnan|
|"Do do do"||Jo and the Boy||2015||Sanoop Santhosh||Santhosh Varma||Rahul Subramanian|
|"Swanthana Geetham"||Kerala Can (show) Manorama News||2016||Chorus||Harinarayanan||Ratheesh Vega|
Her autobiography Sallapam (Memories) was released in November 2014.
In a question put up in the official Facebook page of Women in Cinema Collective, 'Who is the most influential female artiste in cinema?', Manju Warrier led the poll.  She was featured on a list of women superstars in South Indian cinema by The News Minute and top South Indian actresses by InUth. Her characters appear on many lists featuring strong women characters in Indian Cinema. 
Manju Warrier is also a professional Kuchipudi dancer, having learnt the art from Geetha Padmakumar. She actively performs in many classical dance programs and plays. Her return to stage at Guruvayoor as part of the Navaratri dance festival was received with much fanfare. Directors Ranjith and Sathyan Anthikkad graced the occasion. "I was expecting a few people, if at all; only those who would be at Guruvayoor that day. God made me very happy that day. I am grateful to him," she said to The Hindu. She is considered one of the best spoken actresses in South India. Her opinions at the India Today South Conclave were well-received. Speaking at the event, she described what her opinion was about beauty and about the North-South divide. She described universal beauty as "beauty that comes from character and self-respect, self-belief or beauty that comes from having ideals and principles".
Manju Warrier is also known for her initiatives towards various social causes. She gave the inaugural speech at the National Women’s Talk Festival organised by Soorya in Thiruvananthapuram on 1 January, 2018. "I don’t see any reason to glorify my involvement in social issues. There are a lot of people who do a lot more for society outside the limelight. Since I am known to the public, even the smallest of my deeds are projected in a big way," she said. Apart from films, she also acts in television commercials and is a brand ambassador of Kalyan Jewellers, Sony India, Meriiboy Ice Cream, Dhathri, Kitchen Treasures, ALIFF Brand Ambassador - Cinema for Women, Samsung, and Ujala. She has also worked as a goodwill ambassador for public awareness projects for government and private organisations, such as She - Taxi, Kudumbasree's Organic Farming, Naipunnya development program, the Kerala State Electricity Board, Pink Patrolling, Horticorp (Kerala State Horticultural Products and Development Corporation), Malayala Manorama - Kerala Can-Cancer awareness mission.
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