Kerala has produced many talented individuals who’ve made a name for themselves on the national and international stage. Some of these celebrities became so acclaimed that many of us forget that they are Malayali; the main reason being that their body of work has mainly revolved around industries that are far from Kerala and Malayalam. Let’s look at a few such celebrities of Malayali origin who gained prominence outside Kerala.
Vidya Balan is an actor who has set a benchmark with the wide range of characters she has portrayed. While she has received a lot of praise from the whole of India for her acting prowess, she has not portrayed a full-fledged role in Mollywood. She did make a cameo in Santosh Sivan’s Urumi, but as a film enthusiast, I find it quite disappointing that her exceptional talent has not been showcased in all its splendour in a Malayalam movie.
Though she shot portions for a Malayalam film alongside Mohanlal, the film never saw the light of the day and remains unreleased. I eagerly hope to see a Malayalam film headlined by Vidya Balan, as I am sure that such a film would offer us a masterclass of Vidya’s acting prowess.
Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK, had defined an entire era of music in Bollywood with his supremely melodious voice. This talented singer had a huge fan following, and rightly so, as he was the voice behind several chartbusters that are still on many of our playlists. His untimely demise left the whole nation in shock and I wished we had more Malayalam songs voiced by this talented singer.
KK was born to a Malayali family and was raised in Delhi. He started his career by singing for advertisement jingles and later ventured into playback singing. KK found immense success in Bollywood and Kollywood, but only sang one Malayalam song – Rehasamyaayi from Puthiyamukham.
Kay Kay Menon
Every list of Bollywood’s top-rated actors will feature Kay Kay Menon. Kay Kay Menon, aka Krishna Kumar Menon, was born into a Malayali family from Thiruvananthapuram and was brought up in Pune. He started his career in theatre, and got his break in television series and later on in small roles in movies. He has gone on to create such an aura with his performances that he is now regarded as an irreplaceable artist in Bollywood.
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However, it is quite disappointing that his talent has not been featured in Malayalam movies. In fact, apart from one Tamil film and a Hindi-Telugu bilingual film, Kay Kay Menon has not played a role in South Indian movies either. Reminiscing on how he has played several characters in Bollywood, I believe it would be a treat to see him essay a role in Malayalam films.
The poster boy for many bodybuilders in India, and an actor known for his action roles, John Abraham has carved a niche for himself in Bollywood. From starring in several successful projects to producing several interesting and experimental projects, John Abraham has had an illustrious career. Born into a family of mixed ethnicity, John has a Malayali connection through his father. However, this talented actor hasn’t been featured in a single Malayalam film.
Though in several interviews he has revealed his love for Kerala and its traditions, culture and food, John hasn’t really been given a chance to feature in a Malayalam film. It would be quite interesting to see what John can offer to Mollywood. John has ventured into Mollywood as a producer with the Anaswara Rajan starrer Mike, but I would definitely want to see him enter Mollywood as an actor and bring to us some action-oriented films. Let’s hope for such a day to come soon!
Stand-up comedy is something we all enjoy watching. And while there are many stand-up comics who make us laugh out loud, one name that most people will be familiar with is Kenny Sebastian. Kenny has a fan following spread across the nation as his performances are predominantly in English, with a bit of Hindi to make the jokes land. What many might not know is that this stand-up comic has its origins in Pala, Kerala. But Kenny has done very few shows in Kerala and in Malayalam. As an admirer of his work, I sincerely hope to see Kenny do more shows in Kerala where he presents jokes in Malayalam.
M Night Shyamalan
Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan, popularly known as M Night Shyamalan, is a film director and screenwriter, who works predominantly in Hollywood. He is the man behind several acclaimed Hollywood films, each of which has his signature supernatural plot and twist ending. This talented filmmaker was born to a Malayali father and Tamilian mother, in Mahé.
M Night Shyamalan’s plot and filmmaking style is considered to be something ‘out of the box’ and unique, which is exactly what Mollywood has been doing in India. It would be quite interesting to see M Night Shyamalan make a film in Malayalam. Malayalis being an audience who are always ready to see something new, M Night Shyamalan could possibly create a new wave of filmmaking in Mollywood.
These are a few celebrities of Malayali origin who have their work done mostly in areas away from Kerala. We sincerely hope and wish to see these stalwarts deliver something for us Malayalis in Malayalam. Who else do you think falls in the same category as these celebrities? Do mention these celebrities of Malayali origin in the comments section.