Non-Malayali Heroes Who Acted In Malayalam Movies and Made An Impact

Non-Malayali Heroes Who Acted In Malayalam Movies and Made An Impact

26 Dec 18 @ 11:29 AM

Malayalam is a tough language to crack. It is easy for a native speaker of Malayalam to get an entry into the film industry. But, to an outsider who doesn't have in-depth knowledge of the culture of Kerala and its diversities, it is difficult to gain a foothold in Mollywood. Forget foothold, even if they get a chance, to imbibe the moods and nuances of Malayalam enunciation and accents is pretty hard. Still, there are some actors; despite being a non-Malayali were successful in gaining the love and respect of Malayali audience who went on to leave a mark. There are a huge number of Non- Malayali actors who have appeared in Malayalam cinema. Veteran actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shivaji Ganeshan, Prabhu, Naseeruddin Shah, etc. have also acted in Malayalam cinema, but only in supporting roles or cameos. Here is a list of seven famous non-Malayali actors who acted as the lead character in Malayalam movies.

  • Kamal Haasan

    Kamal Haasan, the towering presence in Indian Cinema has acted in almost all Indian languages. The actor, born in Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu made his debut as a child actor in ‘Kalathoor Kannamma’ (1960) at the age of five. He made his debut as a lead actor through Malayalam films. In 1975, KS Sethumadhavan who had already directed Kamal as a child artist in ‘Kannum Karalum’ (1962) cast him as the lead actor in ‘Kanyakumari’. Kamal went on to win his first Filmfare award for the film. He went on to become a lead actor in Tamil cinema but still continued to act in Malayalam films like ‘Vishnu Vijayam’, ‘Njan Ninne Premikkunnu’ (1975), ‘Thiruvonam’, ‘Rasaleela’, etc. the film which made Kamal Haasan a rage across Kerala was ‘Madanolsavam’ (1978). The songs of the film had become a sensation which helped in establishing him as a prominent actor in south India. Kamal Haasan came back to Malayalam as the hero in a big budget movie, ‘Chanakyan’ (1989), directed by TK Rajeev Kumar. The film, again was a blockbuster. The actor didn’t act in Malayalam since then, except for a cameo in the Jayaram starrer ‘Four Friends’. Altogether including supporting and lead roles, Kamal Hassan has done 39 films in Malayalam, so far.
  • Rajinikanth

    Rajinikanth, the superstar of Tamil cinema has acted in a Malayalam film. The 1981 Malayalam movie, ‘Garjanam’ had Rajinikanth playing the lead role in a Malayalam film for the first time. The film was directed by CV Rajendran and initially planned as a trilingual with Jayan playing the hero in Malayalam and Rajinikanth playing the lead in the other two languages (Tamil and Kannada). Unfortunately, Jayan died while doing a stunt in ‘Kolilakkam’ (1981) and was replaced by the Tamil Superstar, while half of the Malayalam version had been already shot. The Malayalam portions with Jayan were shot again with Rajinikanth. The film was received poorly at the box-office.
  • Nitish Bharadwaj

    Nitish Bharadwaj is best known for his portrayal of Lord Krishna in BR Chopra’s TV serial, ‘Mahabharat’. An interesting fact is that the actor played the lead role in a Malayalam movie, ‘Njan Gandharvan’ (1991). The film was also ace Malayalam director Padmarajan’s last film. The film’s heroine was also a non-Malayali, Suparna Anand. The veteran novelist turned director was reported to have died due to the negative reception the film had received. The film was a box-office dud, though it went on to attain cult status through video rental circuits.
  • Arvind Swamy

    Arvind Swamy is most famous for playing the lead in Mani Ratnam’s 1993 classic, ‘Roja’. The actor started his career by playing the role of an IAS officer in Mani Ratnam’s take on the Karna story from ‘Mahabahrata’, ‘Thalapathy’ which starred Mammootty and Rajinikanth. The actor starred in ‘Devaraagam’, the only Malayalam film in his career till date. The film dwelt into a complex love story between by Arvind Swamy and Sridevi. This was also the only time both the stars acted together. ‘Devaraagam’ was made into Tamil and Malayalam simultaneously and the songs composed by MM Keeravani turned out to be chart-busters of that time. Still, the film was a huge box office flop.

  • Abbas

    Abbas is an Indian actor, born in Kolkata in 1975. The actor was modelling in Bangalore when Tamil director Kathir spotted him and cast him in his ‘Kadhal Desam’. Abbas co-starred in the film with Vineeth. Kadhal Desham went on to become a huge hit in Tamil Nadu with AR Rahman’s ‘Mustafa Mustafa’ song becoming a friendship anthem and making Abbas a household name. Interestingly, Abbas has played the lead male role in a Malayalam film too. The film was ‘Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu’ directed by TK Rajeev Kumar. Though, a heroine centric film, Abbas’ portrayal of the local trader, Moosakkutty who falls for Bhadra (Manju Warrier) in the film was appreciated. Abbas was next seen in ‘Dreams’ (2000) which had Suresh Gopi playing the lead role. The film was a box-office dud. Abbas starred in only two Malayalam movies since then, ‘Kadha’ and ‘Greetings’. The actor was cast in supporting roles in both films and both didn't leave a mark at the box-office.
  • Sarath Kumar

    Sarath Kumar made his debut through the Telugu film, Samaajamlo Sthree in 1986. Sarath Kumar later tasted his first success with ‘Pulan Visaranai’, acting as a villain. The actor later went on to establish himself as a prominent actor in Telugu and Tamil films through, ‘Raja Kaiya Vecha’, ‘Enkitte Modhathe’, ‘Palaivana Paraivagal’, ‘Pudhu Manithan’ etc, intermittently playing the role of antagonist as well as protagonist. Sarath Kumar made his debut in Malayalam Cinema through Hariharan’s epic period film, ‘Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja’ (2009). The film was the biggest production Malayalam had ever seen. He played the role of ‘Idachena Kunkan’, a warlord from Wayanad who joins Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, King of Kottayam to fight the British forces. The film was a huge hit and paved the way for more roles for Sarath Kumar. He went on to star in six Malayalam films since then. He played a minor role in Kunchacko Boban starrer ‘Oridathoru Postman’ (2010). He played one of the lead roles in ensemble films like ‘The Metro’ and ‘Christian Brothers’ in 2011. He also played the protagonist in the 2012 film, ‘Achante Aanmakkal’.
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  • Srikanth

    Tamil actor Srikanth made his debut through the film, ‘Roja Kootam’ (2002). Films like ‘April Manadhil’ (2002), ‘Manasellam’ and ‘Parthiban Kanavu’ (2003) established him as a bankable actor in Tamil industry. Later on, he starred in hugely successful movies like ‘Bose’ (2004) and 'Kana Kandein’ (2005). He made his Malayalam debut through ‘Uppukandam Brothers Back in Action’ (2011), a sequel to the hit 80’s comedy film, ‘Uppukandam Brothers’. You can watch the Telugu dubbed version of the film below.