Malayali actors have often accepted that they work in Mollywood for great scripts and characters, and that they go to other languages for money. However, things are changing for the better. 2019 was a year where we saw our actors portraying strong and memorable characters in many languages.
Here are our picks for Mollywood actors who had a good run in other movie industries in 2019.
Manju had a very brief stint of 4 years in the first inning of her cinema career. However, when she came back after a gap of 14 years, we Malayalis welcomed her with open hands and still herald her as the lady superstar of Malayalam cinema. 2019 was a special year because our lady superstar was in the spotlight for the impeccable portrayal of Panchiyammal in Asuran. So flawless was her acting that she walked, talked and even wore a saree like any other women in Kovilpatti. Asuran crossed the 100cr mark in the box office and Manju Warrier is now a star in Kollywood. Pachiyamma did remember us of Bhanu in Kanmadam and sealed the fact that Manju will remain a superstar.
Dulquer Salmaan is an actor known for his charming persona, multilingual abilities, and great acting skills. Zoya Factor was an average movie but it did make Dulquer a notable actor in Bollywood. Dulquer played Nikhil Khoda, the captain of the Indian cricket team who aspires to bring home the World cup. He had to put in crazy hours of training to come across as a sportsman. “Keralathile anugalk enthina 6 packs,” said Nivin Pauly in Thattathin Marayathu and it seems that Dulquer concurred with this opinion. He didn’t have any qualms in disclosing the fact that VFX was used to give Nikhil Khoda chiselled abs. DQ is very well on the path to leave behind a legacy like his father.
Who would have thought that Monichan in Drishyam would become a nationally recognized actor so soon? Moosa in Family Man catapulted Neeraj Madhav to new heights. Moosa was a character with many layers, intricate backstory and many shades of emotions. Having proven his acting mettle let us hope that Neeraj will be receiving more brilliant offers from Mollywood.
Reba John has become the poster girl for self-confidence. When Reba John walked in slow motion with a smiling face on hearing Vijay saying “Thannambikkek mukham thevayile” (Self-confidence doesn’t need a face), it was an inspirational moment for many women (let alone acid attack survivors). Reba John was the runner-up in a reality show by Mazhavil Manorama and had done quite a few roles in Malayalam; the most remembered being Chippy in Jacobinte Swargarajyam. However, her character Anita in Bigil made her a household name in Tamil Nadu. With many more projects lined up in Kollywood, Reba John is all set for a great career.
When the national awards were being announced this year many of us hoped that Mamooty would win. Such was the intensity of his character in Peranmbu. Mammootty brilliantly portrayed the journey of a self-centred man to a loving father. It reminded us of the old Amaram and Valleyettan days. Director Ram has gone on record to say that no other actor could realistically portray the emotions of Amudhavan (Mammoty’s character in Peranbu) apart from Mammooka.
The national award winner, effortless shapeshifter, the most expressive eyes – Fahadh Faasil has many taglines associated with him. Time and again, he has proved that he is an actor par excellence. Fahadh has generally been reluctant in doing roles in other languages. The exception being Velaikaran in 2017 and Super Deluxe in 2019. In Super Deluxe, Fahadh impeccably portrayed a husband who is struggling to balance the love for his newlywed wife and his anger towards her for being unapologetically unfaithful. Numerous reviews of Super Deluxe has heralded Fahadh as a delight Tamil cinema needs much more of.
That was our list. We have not included actors like Nayanthara, Amala Paul or Anupama Parameshwaran in the list because they majorly act in industries. Therefore, if at all we come up with a list of Mollywood actors who rarely act in Malayalam, we’ll include them 😉
Did we cover your favourites? Let us know in comments.