Manju Warrier is an Indian actor and dancer who predominantly works in the Malayalam film industry. Making her debut at the age of 17, Manju rose to become one of the leading actresses of Malayalam film industry. In 1999, Manju won the Special Jury – National Film Award for her performance in the movie Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu, and later took a sabbatical for 14 years making her comeback in the year 2014.
Manju was born in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, to Madhavan Warrier, who is an accountant, and Girija Warrier, a housewife. After she completed her primary schooling from the CSI Matriculation Higher Secondary, her family settled in Kannur. Later, she completed her schooling from Chinmaya Vidyalaya and Chovva Higher Secondary School.
Manju was a talented dancer as a child and won many awards as well. For two years in a row, Manju was conferred with the prestigious Kalathikalam at the Kerela Youth Festival. Later, she completed her graduation from the SN College. Manju has one sibling, Madhu Warrier, who is also an actor.
Manju married her co-star Dileep in the year 1998, and the couple has a daughter Meenakshi. However, after 16 years of marriage, the couple got separated in January 2015.
Manju began her acting career with the television serial, Mohavaram, which was telecasted on Doordarshan. However, she made her movie debut with Sakshyam (1995), which was a box office hit. A year later, she appeared in the movie Sallapam (1996) alongside Dileep, whom she later married.
Post-1996, Manju went on to star in around 20 movies and over a span of three decades. In 1997, she appeared in the movie Aaraam Thampuran, alongside Mohanlal. The movie went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year and completed a successful 250-day run in the theater. Her next movie, Kanmadam (1998), with Mohanlal, again was a hit. Continuing to deliver applaudable performances, Manju next starred in the movie Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu (1999). For her performance in the movie, she won a Special Mention at the National Film Awards.
Manju has acted with some of the top actors of the Malayalam film industry including Suresh Gopi and Jayaram. With Suresh Gopi, she has appeared in movies such as Summer in Bethlahem (1998), Pranayavarnangal (1998), Pathram (1999), and Kaliyattam (1997). Her notable movies with co-star Jayaram include Irattakuttikalude Achan (1997), Kaliveedu (1996), Thooval Kottaram (1996) and Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu (1997). In the movie, Daya, released in 1998, Manju portrayed the role of a man. This was the first time a Malayalam actress had taken up such a role and Manju was praised for her performance. After giving several hit movies, Manju got married to her co-star Dileep. Post her marriage, Manju took a long break from mainstream acting.
More than a decade later, in 2011, Manju was seen at a promotional event for the movie Gaddama. In the following year she performed Kuchipudi in Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple, and in 2013 she was seen in a commercial alongside the popular Bollywood actor, Amitabh Bachchan. With only these few public appearances since 2011, it was soon announced that Manju would be making her comeback to commercial cinema. The fans and the media were highly delighted by the announcement and eagerly waited for her next release. However, much to their disappointment, her comeback project, opposite Mohanlal, was shelved.
Finally, after a 15-year hiatus, Manju made her comeback in the movie How Old Are You in 2014. Portraying the character of Nirupama Rajeev, a UD clerk in the revenue department, her performance was highly appreciated with Sharika. C of The Hindu quoting, “A must-watch, the film is also her (Manju Warrier’s) way of making a statement – that age does not matter and you are never too old to chase your dreams. Ab ki baar, Manju Warrier!” The movie was a critical and commercial success and Manju won her fifth Filmfare Award for her performance. Post the release of How Old Are You, Manju teamed up with Mohanlal after a gap of 17 years for Sathyan Anthikad’s movie, Ennum Eppozhum (2015). She was last seen in the movie Rani Padmini (2015), alongside Rima Kallingal.