Malayalam actors who took up negative roles at the peak of their stardom
Stardom and fame usually confine actors to particular roles, leaving little space to experiment with characters. Well, this may not be entirely true as some actors from Malayalam cinema went on to break the stereotype and take up characters with a negative shade. Let’s have a look at them!
1.Nivin Pauly: Da Thadiya (2012)
Nivin Pauly had just earned glory as the young sensation of Malayalam cinema with the success of his blockbuster films Neram and Thattathin Marayathu when he accepted the offer to play the villain in a film. It was quite surprising to see him in the role with a negative shade in Ashiq Abu’s Da Thadiya which starred DJ Sekhar as the lead. The film is about an obese youth Luke John Prakash (played by Sekhar) and how he joins an Ashram that focuses on losing weight using Ayurvedic treatment. He does this to impress the girl he loves, Ann Mary (played by Ann Augustine). Nivin Pauly plays the wicked business-minded owner of the Ashram who churns out money by embarrassing obese people and taking advantage of their helplessness. The role helped Nivin catch a break from the usual guy-next-door- roles and show us that he can pull off negative characters as well.
2. Fahad Fasil: Kumbalangi Nights (2019)
Shammi from Kumbalangi Nights will go down in history as an iconic villain in Malayalam cinema. Shammi, though a negative character, is supposed to be a caricature of a person who is the flagbearer of patriarchal hypocrisy. In the entire movie, there are several segments where Shammi behaves as a typical patriarch, trying to be the socially accepted “male figure” in the family. No one better than Fahad could have played this role. The perfection that he brings to the character can never be replicated by anyone else. The success and wide acceptance of the role once again established Fahad as one of the finest actors in the country.
3. Prithviraj Sukumaran: Mumbai Police (2013), Kuruthi (2021)
More than a negative character, what Prithviraj portrayed in Mumbai Police was an extremely unconventional role that no one expected him to do. It was indeed an unabashed call to make at the peak of his career. The film was lauded for its unconventional storyline and Prithviraj won all the hearts for his negative shaded character. After Mumbai Police, it was in Kuruthi that we saw him in an entirely dark character. He plays Laiq, an uninvited guest at Ibrahim’s home. He comes in to add fuel to the flames of communal tension in Ibrahim’s home. Prithviraj’s Laiq really chills our spines with the things he says and things he does.
4. Mammootty: Vidheyan (1994), Munnariyippu (2014), Puzhu (2022)
Mammootty is a superstar whose fame spans the entire country. A usual trope that we see among superstars is how they confine themselves into cliched roles catering to their brand value and reputation. Well, Mammootty is not just a superstar, he is a hungry actor who is not letting his stardom confine him to typical roles. The first time we saw him in a negative role was in Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Vidheyan in 1994, a time when he was crowned the new superstar of Malayalam cinema along with Mohanlal. Mammootty plays a tyrannical landlord who mistreats his slave and shows no consideration for him. His dynamic portrayal of the oppressive landlord fetched him the National Award for Best Actor that year. Mammootty was also seen essaying negative characters in Munnariyippu and recently released Puzhu.
5. Vineeth: Mazhavillu (1999)
It’s next to impossible to imagine an actor like Vineeth, whom we have only seen in gullible and innocent roles, to be a villain in a mainstream film. Well, surprisingly he did. In the Malayalam movie Mazhavillu, Vineeth can be seen as an obsessive maniac who tries to kill his friend to be close to his wife. Without any doubt, he executed the role to perfection, making us hate him with all our hearts for ruining a lovely family.
6. Tovino Thomas: Maari 2 (2018)
Tovino Thomas is the latest addition to the young sensations of Malayalam cinema. And it is at this time that he went to Tamil cinema to play a notorious villain in Dhanush’s Maari 2. Tovino plays Beeja alias Thanatos, Maari’s arch-rival who is after Maari’s life. The role is not an easy one to pull off but Tovino plays the character convincingly. He brings the required body language and voice modulation needed for Thanatos.
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