Ponnamma was born in Kaviyoor village, near Tiruvalla. She has mainly acted as a mother figure to most of the malayalam actors. She is sometimes referred to as “Mohanlal’s Mother” because she has acted as his mother in a great amount of movies. The mother-son role of Mohanlal-Ponnamma has been accepted well by the audience. We do not feel that we are acting and we do not plan. Reactions come spontaneously.
The name Kaviyoor Ponnamma brings to the mind of everyone a comforting mother, dressed mostly in white saree. Few in this generation know that she has in fact acted as the mother of Satyan and Madhu, many decades back. The movie was `Thommande Makkal’. Although younger to Thilakan, she had acted as Thilakan’s mother in the movie `Periyar’.
The actress says about Ponnamma-Thilakan combination:-
People used to love our combination and I used to get many letters appreciating the roles
She has acted with Prem Nazir, Satyan, Madhu, Soman, Sukumaran, Vincent, Raghavan, Mohanlal, Mammootty, Dileep and even Prithviraj (in Nandanam).
She has done a telefilm directed by Viji Thamby, for Amritha TV.
As a five-year-old, she learnt music and used to sing in stage shows. But she did not see many movies. She started acting in dramas when she was 14 years, starting off with `Mooladhanam’ of Thoppil Bhasi. After five years, came her first movie Kudumbini, in which she did the title role of the mother of two kids.
Having stayed at Chennai for 37 years, Ms. Ponnamma is now settled in Aluva. Her husband M.K. Mani was a film producer. Their daughter is now in Chennai and son-in-law a professor at the Michigan University.
Kerala State Film Awards: Second Best Actress – 1971 – Different films
- Second Best Actress – 1972 – Theertha Yathra
- Second Best Actress – 1973 – Different films
- Second Best Actress – 1994 – Thenmavin Kombathu