Mini screen stars have largely been seen as country cousins when compared to their silver screen counterparts. Directors are now acknowledging the talent pool that TV reality shows offer on a platter and are signing some of the reality show contestants for leading roles in films. With most of the top rung actresses in Mollywood happily settling for marital bliss, there exists a vacuum in Mollywood and these reality show contestants are stepping into those shoes.
The finale of Mammootty The Best Actor held recently as a mega event saw Parvathi Nambiar who, as the fourth place winner, had been given a spot offer by director Renjith. An ecstatic Parvathi reveals, “Yes, I have decided to commit to the film! I met Renjith and listened to the storyline, which impressed me and it is a female-oriented subject.” Parvathi adds that she had never expected such an offer. A trained classical dancer, Parvathi did not have too many expectations but the offer from Renjith completely flummoxed her.
While it was a direct offer by a director for Parvathi, two other reality show contestants have to thank the wives of the directors for spotting them. Chandini, who is a part of Celluloid, was spotted by Kamal’s wife when Chandini was the finalist of the reality show Indian Voice Season 1. She plays the role of Rosie, the first heroine of Malayalam films. She says, “I did not know anything about movies and was not interested either! Kamal’s wife suggested my name to him. I was called for a meeting but I was very confused because my interest tended towards singing. I consulted with my family and close friends who asked me to go ahead as it was a Kamal film.” It helped that Chandini did not have any prior film experience as Kamal wanted a rank amateur to match up to the original Rosie, who did not know anything about films.
Television is rapidly emerging as a popular urban and rural medium enjoying a huge viewership. Television stars are as popular as their cine counterparts because of their daily appearances and a more perceived sense of approachability. The reality show, Veruthe Alla Bharya Season 1, had a loyal viewership base and made stars out of normal homemakers.
A contestant who is enjoying her day in the sun is Nita Promy, who has also landed a role in the film, Matinee, thanks to director Aneesh Upasana’s wife, Anjali, who spotted her and also because Nitha knew to drive!
Expanding on that, she says, “Anjali used to watch my show and Aneesh was looking for somebody who knew to drive through thick traffic, and would look convincing as a working woman.” Nitha says the reality show platform overturned her life. She talks about the experience, “The reality show was a new platform and it was the first time I was facing the camera; my stage fear disappeared. Films were another new ball game, but thanks to the experience of the reality show and the support of my co–artistes, I did a decent job.”
Rachana who earned accolades for her portrayal in Marimayam has now been signed on for the Deepu Anthikad-directed Lucky Star as the heroine. Here, Deepu saw her acting prowess in the serial and offered her the role in his debut film. Rachana says, “I have done a short film earlier and was called for an audition for the film after which I got selected.”
Joking that her popularity and the offer are still a marimayam (magic) to her, she says, “I am asking my teachers for tips and am confident that I can learn from my co-artists. My role in Marimayam was received well and I want to uphold that standard. I hope I can be the lucky star next year.”