Malayali actress love Tamil Cinema for two reasons. One, they get paid a lot more than Malayalam. Second, they get to wear (or not wear) whatever dress they like. For example, if Navya Nair wanted to take bath under a waterfall, not many directors in Kerala would be willing to take that risk. But if she wanted to do the same in a Tamil Movie, even during the peak of water scarcity, the producer will ensure that tanker lorries deliver enough water to drench her.
The code word for shedding clothes is glamour. Another export from Kerala, Nayantara made big news when she was seen in the poster of Vallavan, with Simbu biting her lips. Apparently the idea was not of Simbu but Nayantara herself. In an interview Nayantara declared that she does not mind doing glamorous roles and if the script demanded a kissing scene, then she was game.
Tamil heroes are in big trouble: either you bite or risk getting bitten. Another Malayali heroine, Gopika was seen in Kanaa Kanden biting the chin (not lips) of Srikanth and the poster of this movie created some controversy and it had to be removed in Chennai.
Another Kerala export, Renuka Menon was more bold.
In her first Tamil film Renuka wore white pants and ran in the ocean waves. The water made her pants become transparent. In her second film, the one with ‘Jayam’ Ravi, named ‘Dass’, she had an elaborate dance sequence under a waterfall. She only had a skirt tied under her armpits. Her new film, ‘Kalaaba Kaadhala’ too has many hot scenes. For an actress whose films in Malayalam sank without a trace, Renuka Menon sure has come a long way. [Renuka’s onscreen baths]
It is not just the present day heroines who are into exposing, but even Divya Unni was seen in a rain song in Sabhaash.
When it comes to Tamil movies, these girls seem to have no problems in kissing or exposing, wheras in Malayalam movies they are never seen in any such scenes. These heroines when they come back to Kerala act in roles which show their acting ability and not their body. There are some theories why the behaviour changes once you cross Valayar checkpost.
The first one obviously is money since Tamil films pay a lot more than Malayalam films. For example, Nayantara recently had to refuse a film since the producers were not able to meet her demands. According to one report, Navya Nair is getting paid ten times the salary she got for her debut film, Nandanam. When the pay his high, some compromises have to be made on certain issues and so Gopika has now decided that she will not expose for the sake of money.
In Tamil movies, most of the exposing comes in song scenes. In a hero-oriented Tamil Movie world, the heroine gets only few scenes anyway and time cannot be wasted in establishing character. So they get a few songs, show some glamour disppear from the story. While Tamil heroes are one man entertaiment units, so are Tamil heroines.
In Malayalam too, it is a hero’s world now as we noted before and in Malayalam also there are song scenes. Tamil songs tend to be dream songs or one with no-relation-to-story picturization, Malayalam songs tend to be more natural. Sometimes Malayalam songs even don’t have a dance sequence especially in the technique when it is played in the background and the story accelerates forward.
We are generalizing here, for now there is a trend to have dappankoothu songs with hundreds of extras in Malayalam movies too, but the similarity stops there. Malayalam songs are still picturized in the running-around-the-tree mode without much glamour and the heroines don’t expose in such songs. Even imported actresses like Rambha and Meena are dressed decently in Malayalam movies.
Except for few heroines like Jayabharathi or Seema, who are remembered more for exposing, most Malayali heroines established a name for themselves for acting. People remember Manju Warrier, and Urvashi for their holding on equal footing against well established heroes and not for exposing. Present day Malayalam films may be cliched, but they still tend to be more realistic and an exposing heroine is certainly not a character here.
The same actresses come back and do Malayalam movies occasionally and then the displayed talent is of a different nature. There is no exposing, just acting.