Malayalam movie industry has been entertaining people with quality content since decades. From comedy, romance, family drama, crime-thrillers to horror, movies originating from Kerala are known for creating magic on the silver screen, leaving people in awe. While the story and script writing is one of the main aspects, inclusivity and acceptance of Malayalam media has played a primary role in producing content which reflects the society.
From featuring differently abled people as lead characters, to having autistic singers on reality shows, the media in the southern state set a bar way before inclusivity was preached. Many-a-times, stories were written for these characters to come live on the screen, while others involved furthering the talent to show that they are no less when compared to the society’s set standards. Here, we take a look at people who made an impact on Malayalam’s TV and movie industry.
Transgenders in Asianet Malayalam Comedy Show
Long-running Malayalam TV show ‘Comedy Stars’ is known for being every Malayalee household’s dinner table show. The show has given birth to some of the best comedians the Malayalam industry currently has. For a long period of time, transgenders played the role of women in the show. Their entry into the show kick-started talks about issues faced by transgenders in society and why there was a need for an inclusive society. One of the popular transgenders in the show was Surya Vinod who went on to win the special jury award for her female roles in the comedy skit in 2015.
Transgender make-up artists
Malayalam film industry has been seeing an increase in transgender make-up artists in the recent years. From top celebrities, models to brides, they paint their magic on everyone. While things weren’t in their favour initially, transgenders have almost become the face of make-up artists in Kerala. Some of the popular names include Renju Renjimar, Jaanmoni Das, Avinash S Chetia and Vineeth Seema. Some of them are not even from the southern state, but have been accepted well by the movie fraternity. Some of their clients include Bhavana, Priyamani, Asin, Tamannah, Amala Paul, etc.
Guinness Pakru is well known name in the Malayalam movie industry. At 2 feet 6 inches Ajay Kumar has acted in an array of Malayalam movies and is known for his comedy timing. He is often spotted at film awards, international Malayalam comedy shows, judging reality shows and much more. Ajay Kumar holds a Guinness World Record for being the shortest actor to play a character in a full-fledged movie. He was the lead in Malayalam movie Albhutha Dweep directed by Vinayan.
Sukesh, better known as Sukesh kuttan was a popular contestant in Malayalam TV singing reality show Star Singer Season 6 in 2012. Sukesh Kuttan who was autistic did not mingle much with the rest of the contestants or spoke to the judges. While blessed with exceptional singing abilities, Sukesh would sing only if his mother, who always accompanied him, requested him to. However, on some days, he would come to the stage and say he did not want to sing. Judges of the show, who were understanding of his development disorder would cooperate and encourage him to sing. But many-a-times, he would simply walk out of the show. He went on to be the six finalists of the popular singing reality show.
A video of Sukesh singing with popular Malayalam singer KS Chitra
Vaikom Vijayalakshmi is a playback singer from Kerala, India. She is known for her expertise in playing the rare musical instrument called Gayatriveena. Viji is a popular name in the Malayalam movie industry. She leaves her audience stunned every time she sings. She has appeared in TV interviews, reality shows where she has discussed her life openly. Vijayalakshmi was born with an incurable blindness but that did not stop her from pursuing a career in singing. Viji, in the first 10 years of her singing career, performed at more than 400 stages in Chennai, Tanjore, Madurai, Coimbatore and other major cities of India. She has received praises for her ability to learn and identify difficult ragas.