A Blog on Cinema

Dancing and the Malayali Hero


(Written by Guest Contributor Unni)

Dancing is an art form that does not come to everyone easily. You are either an expert -if you have a “feel” for it or you avoid it like plague, if you just cannot get your steps right.

The dancing ability was never a must for the Malayali hero as they compensated this shortcoming through their acting abilities.

Based on their dancing abilities, we can broadly categorize our actors into three groups – those who are natural dancers, those who try and lastly those who cannot even shake a leg.Vineeth and Mohan Lal are perfect examples of the first category. Vineeth, besides being a fine actor, is also a trained dancer and he has exhibited his skills in several movies. Some that come to our mind are the “Shivadam Shiva namam” song from Mazhavillu and recently as the lover of Chandramukhi in Tamil. Mohan Lal also is a very good dancer and despite his heavy frame, has surprising flexibility of movement. The “Anantha nadanam” song from Kamaladalam, “Maaleya” song from Thacholi Varghese Chekavar, “Poove Poove Paalapoove” song from Devadoothan are examples.

Now to the second category – This actor was in the third category till recently. However his recent performances have seen him move up a few rungs in terms of dancing – Mammotty is that actor who believes in the axiom “better late than never” when it comes to dancing. Previously his attempts to dance – if thats the word we can use – were disasters. If we think about Mammotty and dancing, the frames that immediately came to our mind were the “Nyaan oru pattu padam” song from Megham , “Dekho Bhayya Dekho Internet-in Magic” song from Indraprastham and “Ponne Ponnambili” song from Harikrishnans. Having confessed in interviews that he is not the best dancer around, because he had two left feet, he decided to give it one last shot -it started with Thommanum Makkalum, continued with Rajamanikkyam and reached its peak with ThuruppuGulan. (He even remarks in Gulan that he aspires to be a Kalathilakam like Navya Nair!!). And to be fair to him he has done a decent job even though some of his steps in the “Pidiyana” song resemble a PT drill!!

Dileep is another who makes it to this group. Even though he tries to ape some bollywood stars in the songs from Lion and Pandipada, he still made the grade.

Suresh Gopi seems to fall in the last category. The “Kannadai Kayyil” song from Pranayavarnangal will be best remebered for Vidyasagar’s melodious music and Suresh Gopi’s “shit” like dance. And he has not showed any progress even in Lanka also. Lets hope he stops dancing altogether and does that slow motion walk that he does so well.

The person who could give company to Suresh Gopi in this category is none other than the “echuse-me-aa-kakka-thoori-alle” hero, Jagadish. In the early and mid 90’s, there was a spate of Jagadish movies – all of them had songs picturised on him doing “dappan-kuth” like dances.

Overall we can say that our vast majority of our actors fall in the second and third categories – which is not a good sign for the times as more and more movies are being made with fast-moving steps shot in foreign countries. Actors who cannot dance should look to none other than Mammotty for inspiration. And as times change, we may even get to see a Mammotty doing a Salsa or Suresh Gopi doing a Bhangra!.


  1. Ouch… you guys missed Kunchakko Boban whom you can very well include in the first category…

    And, though Mohanlal does good cinematic dance (especially in his earlier movies), I have to say, his classical type of dancing is nothing less than vomit inducing. E.g. his ‘dance’ in Kamaladalam and Ravanaprabhu.

  2. Yes, Kunchakko Boban is easily in the first category. Which one does Jayaram belong to? 🙂

    Though I would not use ‘vomit dancing’ to describe Lal’s effort, it was certainly far far away from convincing. As in, someone who has never seen Lal in movies, if shown those dances would find Lal’s attempt pathetic.

  3. “Which one does Jayaram belong to?”

    Hehe… he is in a strage position… one leg in first category and the other in the last 😀

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