New-age Malayalam actors who redefined the concept of “macho-hero”

Three Malayalam actors fared well at the box office despite not having those "perfect" looks believed essential for a hero.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published Dec 09, 2023 | 2:00 PMUpdated Dec 09, 2023 | 2:00 PM

New-age Malayalam actors who redefined the concept of “macho-hero”

There was a time when actors, especially mainstream heroes were supposed to have particular looks. For example, they were meant to be good-looking.

In Malayalam, yesteryear actors like Prem Nazeer, Vincent, Jose, and Rahman were popular for their looks rather than their acting skills.

However, Mammootty is an exception to this as he is both good-looking and an impeccable actor.

Mohanlal is not considered a handsome hero by some people but he has impressive looks and charisma. Moreover, he has proved himself with his natural acting.

In the present age, actors like Prithviraj Sukumaran, Kunchako Boban, Tovino Thomas, and Nivin Pauly have made a place in the hearts of audiences with their good looks and acting skills.

However, there are a few exceptions. Here are three Malayalam actors who fared well at the box office despite not having those “perfect macho-hero” looks:

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Vineeth Sreenivasan

If someone watches the old interviews of Vineeth Sreenivasan, it is easy to understand that he is a different person. He has become a more mature person now. He is an all-rounder — he is a singer turned actor cum director. His directorial films Malarvadi Arts Club (2010), Thattathin Marayathu (2012), Thira (2013), Jacobinte Swarga Rajyam (2016), and Hridayam (2022) did well.

Vineeth Sreenivasan in Kurukkan

Vineeth Sreenivasan in ‘Kurukkan’. (Supplied)

He debuted as an actor with his performance in Cycle (2008), directed by Johny Antony. The actor played meaty roles in Chappa Kurishu (2011) and Traffic (2011), both path-breaking films.

Vineeth Sreenivasan doesn’t have the looks that are supposed to be needed for a mainstream hero. He also did small films like Ormayundo Ee Mukham (2014) and Oru Vadakkan Selfie (2015).

He joined his brother Dhyan Sreenivasan in acting as they were cast in Basil Joseph’s debut directorial Kunjiramayanam (2015).

Vineeth Sreenivasan has proved his mettle in comedy and serious sequences too. He played the lead actor in the black comedy — Mukundan Unni Associates (2022), which featured him as an advocate.

It was a major shift for the actor, who was playing characters well within his comfort zone.

In Kurukkan (2023), he played the role of a police officer accused of a crime. But his character was a caricature kind of character.

His portrayal of a goldsmith in Thankam (2023) placed him at the next level. The character takes extreme steps to support his family.

He is now busy working on his upcoming movie — Varshangalku Sesham.

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Fahadh Faasil

Every Tom, Dick and Harry is now a Fahadh Faasil fan. But this actor isn’t a pleaser of his fans as he had even mentioned that there is no need for people to discuss his personal life.

Fahadh Faasil is a successful actor

Fahadh Faasil is a successful actor. (Supplied)

He prefers his characters speak for him. Fahadh Faasil was introduced by his father Fazil, an acclaimed director. But their movie Kai Ethum Doorath (2002) was a box office failure. It took some years for Fahadh Faasil to attain heights.

In 2007, Fahadh appeared in the short film Mrityunjayam, a part of Kerala Cafe (2007) — an anthology of 10 films. He got a small recognition with that movie.

Fahadh followed it up with two path-breaking films Chappakurisu (2011) and 22 Female Kottayam (2012). In both movies, his roles had negative shades.

The actor was also offered roles in other languages. He appeared in the Tamil films Velaikkaran (2018) and Super Deluxe (2019). His roles in Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Tamil film Vikram (2022) and Allu Arjun’s Telugu movie Pushpa-The Rise (2021) made him a heartthrob.

Needless to say, Fahadh Faasil attained all these heights with his bald head. He proved that looks don’t matter in acting.

His work in Trance (2020), Joji (2021), and Malayalankunju (2022) are a few more examples of his sheer acting skills.

Related: 5 must-watch films of Fahad Faasil

Basil Joseph

Nobody would have thought that Basil Joseph, who entered the industry as an assistant director, would become a lead actor.

Basil Joseph in Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham

Basil Joseph in ‘Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham’. (Supplied)

From his debut movie Up and Down Mukali Oru Aalund (2013) to the recent Falimy, he made a mark for himself in the industry. He shouldered many movies all by himself.

Basil Joseph’s selection of characters is quite interesting. In his latest flick Falimy (2023), running successfully in theatres, he played the role of a grandson who leaves no stone unturned to fulfil his grandfather’s wish.

While in his previous film Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham (2023), Basil Joseph’s character aspires to settle as a successful person but ends up as the representative of an average citizen who tries hard to make ends meet.

In Jaaneman (2021), his character misses the joy in his life as he studies in Europe. So, he returns to his hometown in Kerala to regain his zeal for life.

In Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey (2022), Basil Joseph plays a character with negative shades. The movie talks about a different issue women face in their homes.

Interestingly, Basil doesn’t sport the “perfect looks” needed for a mainstream hero. Nevertheless, he carved a niche for himself purely on his talent.

The actor has many friends and mentors in cinema like Vineeth Sreenivasan and Tovino Thomas.

Well, gone are the days when people thronged to theatres to watch their favourite actors with masculine looks. The above-mentioned actors have proved to be game-changers in Malayalam cinema.

Also Read: Basil Joseph bags Asian Academy Award for Minnal Murali