(Written by Guest Contributor Unni)
Here’s are some heroines of the recent movies of our ageing (in body, not in mind) super-stars.
Mammotty: Katrina Kaif (Balram vs Tharadas), Sneha (Thuruppugulan), Padmapriya (Rajamanikkyam), Nikhita (Bus Conductor), Nayantara (Rappakal), Mohini (Vesham), Shreya Reddy (Black). His heroines for upcoming movies include Aditi Rao/Sandhya (Prajapathi)
Mohanlal: Meera Jasmine (Rasathanthram), Meera Vasudevan (Thanmathra), Devayani/Bhavana (Naran), Meena (Chandrolsavam, Udayanaanu Thaaram). His heroines for new movies include Padmapriya (Vadakkumnathan), and Laila (Mahasamudram)
It is interesting to see that there are just 4 Malayali faces among this list of 15 which brings forth the question – why do our heroes get heroines from out of state most of the time?
One possible reason could be that they do not want the heroine to occupy more screen space than the hero. In majority of the cases, these heroines are reduced to mere props – make an entrance, show some glamour (the scale of display depends on the director), fall in love with the hero, cry a bit, do a song or two and make it to the final family get-together or just disappear altogether.
Now if we take the case of Malayalam heroines – be it Meera, Kavya or Navya, they dont survive by show of glamour. All of them are talented actresses and can take the shine of the hero’s performance. Actresses like Rambha and Meena who expose generously in Tamil and Telugu do not do so in Malayalam movies. Imports like Meera Vasudevan have shown their talent in acting too. On the other hand, with heroines like Katrina, you get the publicity and the added bonus of glamour display.
Yet another reason, why our heros look for ladies from across the border ,could be because they feel they would look younger if they are paired with a 20 year old. Gone are the days when our heroes were paired with heroines, with not much age-difference between them – examples being Shobana, Revathi, Urvashi, and Karthika. In those days, heroines needed to act also. But as times changed, the importance of the heroine in our movies has also declined.
Having said this importing a heroine may not always be the perfect solution, as they might throw tantrums and find it difficult to adjust to the Malayali way of movie-making where discipline is paramount and budget is not exactly extravagant. The trick therefore seems to be to strike a fine balance between glamour, acting abilities and renumeration. This would also explain why finding leading ladies for our heros seem to be one of the most challenging tasks in Malluwood.