Malayalis Who Made It Big In Other Movie Industries

Malayalam cinema is never short of talented people. However, there were times when some talented people did not find a place for themselves in the industry but found immense success in other movie industries. For a mix of reasons, these people, who have their roots in Kerala, found success elsewhere. Though a loss of Malayalam cinema, these vibrant personas have been making us proud for a long time. Here’s the list of Malayalis who made it big in other movie industries.

Asin Thottumkal

Though Asin debuted with Sathyan Anthikad’s movie Narendran Makan Jayakanthan Vaka, she did not make a name in the Malayalam film industry. It is the Telugu and Tamil movies that earned her immense stardom, even fetching her the title of “Queen of Kollywood”. She later shifted her focus to Bollywood and found success there as well. Having graduated from St. Teresa’s College in Kochi, Asin gave up acting after her marriage. You can hardly see her in public events now.

Also Read: Most Relatable Teenagers In Malayalam Cinema

Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan owns a successful percentage of the credit for changing the way women are portrayed in Indian movies. She may have debuted in Bollywood with Parineeta but did you know she was supposed to make her debut with Mohanlal in a Malayalam movie and also had signed 12 other movies in Malayalam? But the film got shelved and she was removed from all the other movies as she was tagged “bad luck”.  Though Malayalam cinema turned its back on her, Bollywood welcomed her with a whole heart, making her one of the greatest female actors in the industry.

Also Read: Female Character Tropes In Malayalam Cinema

Keerthy Suresh

Remember the cute girl from the Malayalam movie Kuberan? That’s her, right there. Growing up, luck did not favor her much in Malayalam cinema. Her true potential as an actor was only brought to the limelight in other south Indian industries. She even received the National Award for Best actress in 2019 for her dynamic performance in the film Mahanati. Well, we haven’t completely lost her to other industries and we will see her soon in Malayalam movie Vaashi opposite Tovino Thomas.

Also Read: The Many Faces of Motherhood in Malayalam Cinema in 2021

John Abraham

John Abraham has his roots in Kerala as his father is a Malayali. Being raised in Mumbai, John ventured into Bollywood as an actor and later expanded his role as a producer. Did you know he produced the National Award-winning movie Vicky Donor?

Also Check Out: Instagram Accounts You Must Follow If You Love Malayalam Cinema


How ironic is it that the cultural symbol of Tamil cinema, M G Ramachandran was actually a Malayali, born to Palakkaddan Malayali parents? After his father, MG Menon’s death, his mother returned back to Kerala from Sri Lanka to get some help but the family looked down on her with disdain. It was Tamil Nadu that stayed closer to him than his motherland Kerala. He went on to become the first actor who was elected as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. His legacy is something that even the coming generations would want to remember.

Also Read: Malayalam Cinema Characters Who Appeared In Non-sequel Movies

M Night Shyamalan 

M Night Shyamalan is a highly reputed Hollywood director who is credited for making original films with contemporary supernatural plots and twist endings. Born to a Malayali father and a Tamil mother in Texas, USA, M Night Shyamalan forayed into Hollywood at a very young age. He was also honored with Padmashri by the Indian Government in 2008. 

Also Read: Lesser-Known Bollywood Remakes Of Malayalam Movies

Kay Kay Menon

Known for his remarkable intense performances, Kay Kay Menon was born in Thiruvananthapuram to Malayali parents and raised in Pune, Maharashtra. Time and again, Kay Kay Menon has proved to us that any character can be trusted with him. Though he primarily focuses on Bollywood, we still can hope to see him in Malayalam movies in the future if characters that match his standards are ever developed. 

Also Read: Friendzone: Revisiting & Smashing Some Common Tropes

Do you know any other Malayalis who have made it big in other movie industries? Let us know in the comments below.


Tell us what you're thinking

Subscribe to our newsletter

We'll send you a monthly newsletter with our top articles of the month

Latest Posts