Superstars rarely venture out of their industry. But with the rising market share and extending fan base of Tamil and Malayalam movies in both regions, a combo cast of two superstars from each industry seems to have an irresistible allure to the fans and filmmakers.
Recently, several of Mollywood's superstars have done such movies in Tamil with reigning Kollywood stars and the trend is that Malayalam actors are often chosen in mentoring roles. We take a look at Mollywood's veteran four — Mohanlal, Mammootty, Jayaram and Suresh Gopi — in their senior avatars.
The megastar's latest film, Jilla, with Ilayathalapathy Vijay, is arguably all set to be one of the biggest hits of the year, with fans of both industries eagerly awaiting the film since its announcement. Mohanlal will be seen in his moustache-twirling avatar — which he immortalised in films such as Devasuram and Aaraam Thampuran — playing Vijay's mentor and father figure in the movie.
Jayaram's latest Tamil stint was also with Vijay — in Thuppaki, where he played the latter's senior military officer. His role might have been a cameo of sorts, but Jayaram went on to prove what it takes to be a top actor. Though, he is not new to playing the second lead in Tamil superstar movies. Thenali with Kamal Haasan had him playing a psychiatrist who treats the Ulaganayagan's character. Incidentally, in Kamal's last full-length Malayalam film Chanakyan, the Tamil actor had played a mentoring role to Jayaram.
It's amazing how a few decades could turn the tide. After playing second fiddle to Suresh Gopi in the 90s in Malayalam films such as Mafia and Rajaputhran, Vikram's popularity has now hit the peak and his latest film, I, has Suresh playing a senior doctor, while Vikram plays the lead. While the Mollywood action superstar won't be doing any action scenes in Shankar's big-budget film, buzz is that he will play a character who is much like an elder brother to Vikram.
Mammootty has been a favourite among K'wood fans ever since he starred alongside Rajinikanth in Mani Ratnam's Thalapathi (1991), where he plays a local don called Devaraj and is a mentor to Surya, played by Rajinikanth. These roles during the prime of their careers show how incredibly talented both are and it's hardly surprising why the two have millions of fans worldwide. Mammootty repeated the feat of playing a veteran character in another Tamil film, Kandukondain Kandukondain, which starred Ajith, Abbas, Aishwarya Rai and Tabu.