Captain Raju
Raju Daniel

(1950-06-27)27 June 1950
Died17 September 2018(2018-09-17) (aged 68)
Kochi, Kerala, India
Raju Daniel
Allegiance India
Service/branch Indian Army
Years of service1971 – 1976

Raju Daniel (27 June 1950 – 17 September 2018), better known by his stage name Captain Raju, was an Indian army officer and Indian actor. He acted in more than 600 films in various languages, including Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and English. He was best known for his performances in character roles, and as a villain. He also appeared in television serials and advertisements and has also directed two Malayalam films. The comic professional assassin character called Pavanayi played by Captain Raju appearing in the movie Nadodikkattu developed a cult status in Malayalam cinema.[1][2] Mr. Pavanayi 99.99 is a 2019 Malayalam movie directed by Captain Raju, where he reprises the role of Pavanayi.

Personal life

Raju was the third of the seven children of K. G. Daniel and Annamma, and was born at Omallur.[3] He has four sisters named Elizabeth, Saji, Sophy, Sudha and two brothers, George and Mohan. Both his parents were teachers at Govt. UP School Omalloor.[4] He had his primary education from Govt. UP School Omalloor and NSS English Medium School, Omalloor. He was a volleyball player.[5] He pursued a degree in Zoology from Catholicate College, Pathanamthitta.[6] After graduation, Raju joined the Indian Army as a short-service commissioned officer at the age of 21 and was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery and rose to the rank of a captain. Captain Raju is an alumnus of the prestigious Officers Training Academy, Chennai. He worked as marketing chief at glucose and starch manufacturing company, Lakshmi Starch, at Mumbai after serving 5 years of Indian army and later he left the job to act in films.[7] While working at the company, he started acting in amateur drama troupes like Prathiba theatres in Mumbai. He later moved to films. He made his directorial debut with the Malayalam film Etha Oru Snehagatha in 1997. His second film as director was Mr. Pavanayi 99.99 (2012) in which he reprised the role of Mr. Pavanayi, his character from the 1987 Malayalam film Nadodikkattu.

He was married to Prameela, and had a son, Ravi.[8][9] He was a Christian by birth, but also respected other religions, and even visited the others' shrines. He was a native of Puthenpeedika, Pathanamthitta. He was observed as very dynamic and vibrant during his childhood. He was also an active member of St. George Orthodox Church, Palarivattom. His parents' wish was to see him become a priest, about which he expressed at several places. He was a staunch Orthodox believer and his contributions to the Church and the society are noteworthy.

Film career

Captain Raju first acted in an unreleased Hindi movie along with Tariq (Yaadon Ki Baraat fame) in 1980 as the supporting hero even before he made his break in Malayalam movies. Raju made his debut in Malayalam with the 1981 multi-starrer movie Raktham. The co-actor in the movie Madhu was greatly impressed with his performance. This made Madhu cast him as the hero in his first home production Rathilayam, which was a movie with A-listers of that era including Soman, Shanavas Rajkumar and Menaka. Captain Raju played the hero role in the movie with Silk Smitha as his heroine. Many B-grade films were made inspired by Rathilayam with Raju himself playing the lead in such low-budget masala films towards the late eighties.[10]

But Captain Raju had established himself as a popular actor even before this phase. His first memorable role came out in the 1984 movie Athiratram, where he played a lead role along with Mamootty and Mohanlal. He also played some of the popular villain characters during this era. In the 1986 movie Aavanazhi, he played the villain role of Sathyaraj which was well appreciated. The grand success of this movie made him one of the busiest actors in Malayalam cinema.[11] It was in the 1988 movie August 1 where Raju probably played the biggest villain role in his career. Raju's act as the unnamed killer determined to assassinate the Kerala Chief Minister was one of the high points of the film. It is considered one of the best villain characters in Malayalam cinema.[12] In the movie Samryajyam, he played an antagonist gangster opposite to that of Mammootty. Khalid in Vyooham (1990) and Pathrose in Adwaitham (1992) were some of the other noted villain characters portrayed by him during the early 90s. His role as Aringodar of Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha was one of the characters which helped Captain Raju to change his track from villain characters (other being Pavanai). This movie helped him to reveal his true potential as a character actor.[13] He also had a notable role in the 1988 movie Oru CBI Diary Kurippu. Captain Raju eventually stopped acting in villain roles during the early 90's. With the 1994 movie Kabooliwala , he became more selective and his role as Madassery Thampi in Puthukkottayile Puthumanavalan was a clear step towards this. He is also known for portraying the powerful elder brother role in the 1993 movie Uppukandam Brothers.[14]

Raju is also known for playing some of the memorable comic characters. He became a household name in Malayalam cinema after his brief role as the comical assassin Pavanayi in Nadodikkattu. The character eventually attained a cult status in Kerala.[15] The classic dialogue "Pavanayi Shavamayi” (Pavanayi is dead) along with the terms such as Malappuram Kathi, Ambum Villum, Transistor Bomb is still popular.[16][17] His character as Karunan Chandakavala (Detective Karamchand) in the 2003 slapstick CID Moosa also got appreciated. Captain Raju reprised his iconic character Pavanayi in the movie Mr. Pavanayi 99.99. The movie's production was completed in 2012, but was released only a year after his death in 2019 due to some issues with producer. This was also his second movie as a director with the first being Oru Snehagadha released in 1997. Captain Raju's last movie was the 2017 Mammootty starrer Masterpiece, where he appeared as himself after a four-year break, as he was recovering from a road accident injury.[18]


A healthy, strong man during his youth, who gave increased importance to fitness, thanks to his military career, Raju's health was severely affected by a car accident, which occurred in October 2003 at Kuthiran near Thrissur. He was seriously injured, and was hospitalised for a long period. Though he survived, he lost the vision in his left eye, and also had problems with walking. Still he was active in films and public.

During his last days, Raju suffered from various ailments like diabetes and hypertension. He had a heart attack in 2015, for which he had treatment. He suffered a massive stroke during a plane journey to New York on 25 June 2018, and was admitted to a hospital in Muscat. He was brought back to Kochi for further treatment, and later left for his home. He died aged 68 in the morning of 17 September 2018 at his residence in Palarivattom, Kochi. He was buried with full state honours at Puthenpeedika St. Mary's Orthodox Church, Pathanamthitta on 21 September.[19][20]


As actor







As Director




  1. ^ "Captain Raju will always be remembered for his role as Mr Pavanayi". The Indian Express. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  2. ^ RAJEEV, ARAVIND (18 September 2018). "The military man who gained immortality as 'Pavanayi'". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Omalloorile Onakazhchakal". Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Life of Captain 1". Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Life of Captain". Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  6. ^ "CiniDiary".
  7. ^ "സിനിമയിലെ ക്യാപ്റ്റന്‍".
  8. ^ "മിസ്റ്റര്‍ പവനായി സ്‌പീക്കിങ്‌, Interview – Mathrubhumi Movies" Archived 15 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "ചെയര്മാന്റെ പിറന്നാള് സമ്മാനം". Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  10. ^ "ക്യാപ്റ്റന്‍ രാജുവിന്‍റെ സംസ്കാരം വ്യാഴാഴ്ച". ManoramaOnline. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  11. ^ മുരളി, ജഗ്ദീപ്. "പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട വില്ലന്മാർക്കൊപ്പമിരുന്ന് ക്യാപ്റ്റൻ ഇതൊക്കെ ശ്രദ്ധിക്കുന്നുണ്ടാവും". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Iconic characters played by late Malayalam actor Captain Raju - The New Indian Express". Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Goodbye, Captain Raju: Seven memorable performances of the veteran actor". The News Minute. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Captain Raju: A versatile star of the 'Golden 80s' in Malayalam cinema". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  15. ^ "അന്ന് 'പവനായി' ചിരിപ്പിച്ചു; ഇന്ന് കരയിപ്പിക്കുന്നു: ക്യാപ്റ്റന്‍റെ ആ വലിയ സ്വപ്നം ബാക്കി". Manoramanews. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  16. ^ "പവനായിയുടെ മരണം; സത്യൻ ആദ്യം എഴുതിയത് ക്യാപ്റ്റൻ രാജു സമ്മതിച്ചില്ല: കുണ്ടറ ജോണി". ManoramaOnline (in Malayalam). Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  17. ^ മാധവന്‍, അനുശ്രീ. "അങ്ങനെ... പവനായിയുടെ രണ്ടാം വരവും ഇല്ലാതായി, ക്യാപ്റ്റന്‍ രാജുവും മടങ്ങുന്നു". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  18. ^ Kumar, P. K. Ajith (18 September 2018). "Captain Raju stood tall amid handsome villains". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  19. ^ "Noted Malayalam actor Captain Raju dies". OnManorama. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  20. ^ "'ലാലൂ.... രാജുച്ചായനാ' ആ ശബ്ദം ഇപ്പോഴും എന്റെ കാതുകളില്‍ മുഴങ്ങുന്നുണ്ട്".