Krishnan Nair (1938 - 16th November 1980) better known by his stage name Jayan was a Malayalee Indian film actor. He was considered as a superstar in Malayalam cinema during the 1970s. He had prominent roles as an action hero.
Jayan started his career with acting in minor roles. His first film was Shapa Moksham (1974). Jayan got his first major break with Thacholi Ambu (1978) in which he acted as a co-hero. What made Jayan a superstar was his negative hero role in Sarapanjaram (1979). He catapulted to fame riding on Machismo roles that endeared him to the masses, and he established himself as one of the most popular Malayalam film actors of his time. He is also touted as the first action hero in Malayalam cinema. Jayan was very different from the typical Malayalam film stars of the then time in the sense that he had a good physique that befitted an action hero. With Jayan the advent of Serious Action movies began. The usual theme of family melodrama and "Romance-Songs-Running-in-between-trees" ended. Movies exploited his masculine physique and often could one see him appeared bare-chest in most of the scenes. His onscreen dress code, most famous for the Elvis bellbottoms, his masculine image and the nature of his death turned him into something of a legend in Kerala. Jayan was also known for having a very different and unique method of dialogue delivery and he has contributed many memorable lines to Malayalam film history. In the late '90s and the early part of the 21st century, there was a resurgence in the popularity of Jayan in Kerala. A whole new generation of people (mostly teenagers) developed a Jayan "fad" and his old movies came into prominence again. This resurgence was mostly because of popular mimicry stage artists in the State, whose imitations of the star quickly caught on, and very soon, similar shows became common place in popular culture, mostly in college stage events, television programs and mimicry stage shows. This fad quickly came under criticism since most of them made a mockery of the star's typical mannerisms.
Jayan was killed in an accident on 16th November 1980, on the sets of the movie Kolilakkam. He was 42 then and at the height of his popularity. Jayan always did the stunts himself, and for this movie he was performing a particularly dangerous stunt that involved him boarding an airborne helicopter from a moving motorbike. The shot was accepted by the director in the first take, but some of Jayan colleagues insisted on a re-take as they were not satisfied with its perfection. During the re-take, he fell off the helicopter and succumbed to his injuries. There have been some conspiracy theories regarding the circumstances of his death. There are unverified claims that some colleagues who were jealous of his popularity conspired against him, though none have been proven The memories of this popular star today stands immortalized in Malayalam film history with his loud, colourful, dress code, machismo mannerisms and unique speaking style together with the sudden resurgence of popularity nearly two decades after his death. Madhu, a famous actor prominent in the 70s once said in an interview "Jayan will be masculine and young forever. No one can see him as an old man ever".