A Blog on Cinema

Stars – Producers!


Often, we have seen our movie stars donning the mantle of producers. They do it for various reasons – some of them wanted to make the movie they always had in their mind. Some needed that ever elusive award, accompanying exposure in festival circuit and international acclaim like Vanaprastham and Kathavaseshan.

Earlier there used to be a production house called Casino, which was started by Mammootty, Mohanlal, I.V.Sasi and Seema. Awards were not their objective, but commercial success. They produced a few movies, but later the group disintegrated. Mohanlal started his own Pranavam Arts, Mammootty, Sasi and Seema never ventured into production again.

In Vanaprastham, Mohanlal invested a lot of his hard earned money. Since it was a Indo – French colloboration it had a mix of Indian and foreign crew. He faced a lot of problems during production.

How was it working with a French crew?

Difficult. They don’t understand our lights, our stories, our climate… It was difficult for me as a cinematographer, so I can imagine what they must have gone through. In fact, Santosh Sivan came in halfway and shot the rest of the film. [Shaji .N.Karun in]

The movie came out was and was appreciated by every one who saw it. It was a disaster in box office and Mohanlal is yet to produce a movie after it, but he got the National Award for best actor.Kathavaseshan was produced by Dileep with T.V.Chandran as the director. Allegations were there that movie was produced with an award in mind and maybe Dileep wanted to remove the stigma of comedy-mimicry actor. The movie did not do well in the box office nor did Dileep win any award.

Undeterred Dileep is producing the AMMA movie venture now. This movie will have all superstars of malayalam acting in it and this would be a pure commercial venture, with no award intentions.

The latest star to be bitten by production bug is Navya Nair. The Tamil movie movie Aadum Kuthum, directed by T.V.Chandran ran into trouble when the producer decided to pull out. Navya along with actor/director Cheran, Cameraman Madhu Ambat and T.V.Chandran decided to pool money and complete the production.

Aadum Koothu’ had Navya in the lead role. Director-turned-actor Cheran was playing the male lead. The film’s production had dragged for such a long time that the producer has decided that it isn’t worth the expenses. He was concerned too because the costs had exceeded the budget.

Finally, the producer decided to walk out of the film. Now, the director, along with the lead pair Cheran and Navya Nair and cinematographer, Madhu Ambatt, have decided to chip in money and complete the film. They have got together and named their new company[‘Lights and Shadows’.]

In Bollywood, movies are mostly produced by actors to inflict their sons on public. This happens a lot in south India too, with people like Fazil making us suffer his son’s acting. Once in a while it is nice to see actors investing their money for making good movies, even though they all have the award in mind.


  1. Movies may have star producers who may have vested interests like awards or promting their kins but ultimately the success of the movie depends on the content. There is nothing these prodcuers can do to make the movie successful in the box office. If its not any good it will fail at least in Kerala where viewers care more about the content that the stars. Kerala viewers dont have any qualms about ditching thier favorite stars if the movie sucks. Things might be different in other states.
    So I dont see anything wrong in this. Stars have the money and they can do what ever they want with it. At least they generate some jobs in the movie industry

  2. To say that Mohanlal has not invested in movies since Vanaprastham would be factually incorrect.Every movie made under Ashirwad Productions(right from Ravanprabhu to the recent Rasathanthram) is Mohanlal’s own money camouflaged under the name of Antony Perambavoor.It’s interesting to note that Antony has been with Mohanlal for the past decade or two as his driver!

    A journalist once asked Mammooty why he is not investing in movies.His wise reply was individuals who make money in other industries come and invest in cinema.Likewise makes money from the movies and invests in other industries!!

    I think a genuine art lover/artiste would certainly beinterested in making movies that are not only commercially viable but also have strong content.Lets hope this happens to Malayalam Cinema once again!!

  3. Am reminded of the sensible actor-director-producer on the block – Lal! the guy sure knows what hes up to, doesnt he?

  4. Sreenivasan ine one of his interviews was forthright when he asked about investing in movies – “I have no intention of producing any movie. Look at Mammotty. He is one actor who has taken a lot but not given anything”. By that he meant that Mammotty has not ventured into production.

    Mohan Lal has invested a lot (and lost) in producing good movies. Earlier he used to make commercial movies under the banner “Pranavam Arts” – movies like HH Abdulla and Kamaldalam. After a while, he made his driver Antony Perumbavur, his benami producer and produced quite a few films like Narasimham, Naran, Rasathantram etc

    Dileep has entered into production in the name of Grant productions with his brother

    IMHO the best businessman in the group is actor LAL. He has his own studio (Lal media or some such name), where dubbing etc are taken care of. He takes care of distribution . Also he is a producer and actor as well.

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