There is no dearth of validation and acknowledgement when it comes to Malayalam cinema. Actors, actresses, directors, script writers and music directors are now recognised, not just within the State but outside too, and rightly so. Adding to this is this article, dedicated to recognising female performers in recent times who’ve made a mark in movies, shouldering the entire film or playing crucial roles.
Perhaps the most experienced name in this list, there is probably no role that Lena can’t pull off. This super performer had a number of films to her credit before she finally got some much- needed appreciation with the late Rajesh Pillai’s Traffic. Not one to confine herself to a certain look or choose roles that are politically correct, Lena has made a few out-of-the-box choices in her career, something not very common in the industry. She is best remembered for her exceptional performance as Moideen’s resilient mother in Ennu Ninte Moideen.
Think Srinda and the first scene that will come to mind is the naive wife in 1983 who unwittingly confesses to not knowing Sachin Tendulkar to her cricket maniac husband. In the 10 years that she has been a part of the industry, Srinda has carved a niche of her own. Be it the role of a stepmother in Two Countries, little Pathumma’s mother in Amar Akbar Antony or the troubled wife in Sherlock Toms, her filmography is proof of her versatility.
Having made her debut in Diamond Necklace as one of the leads, this young actor soon moved to make a name as a performer rather than confine herself to traditional heroine roles. She has successfully experimented with comedy in films such as Prathi Poovankozhi, played serious roles with conviction like the cop in Oppam and was even the hero of her own film in Autorsha.
Surabhi had put in more than a decade in the industry before she won the National and State Awards for her phenomenal act in Minnaminungu. Be it the mute wife in Vikruthi or the ummachi in the TV series M80 Moosa, this lady can get you to silently wipe a tear or make you ROFL with equal ease.
Leona is one actress whom we definitely would love to see more of and this is also because she’s yet to land a part in which she can truly shine. Her instinctive performances in Anveshanam, Mayaanadhi, Queen and Athiran are noteworthy, but it is as Mariya in Ishq that we finally got a glimpse of her acting prowess.
To categorise Darshana as a character actor, especially after her acclaimed performance in c u soon could raise eyebrows. But much before her latest outing, Darshana played remarkable parts in Virus, Mayaanadhi, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum and Koode, in roles that offered her less, in terms of screen time. Known for her unwavering performances, this is one actor who has a lot to offer.
Juggling between her roles as an assistant director and actor, Unnimaya has carved a niche for herself in the very few films that she’s been part of. She was first noticed for her portrayal of a demanding NRI wife in Maheshinte Prathikaaram, followed by less-significant parts in Parava, Mayaanadhi, Varathan and Virus. Her role as DCP Catherine Mariya in Anjaam Paathira finally gave her some much-needed appreciation.
In a film that boasts seasoned actors such as Biju Menon and Prithviraj, it could be a task to find one’s voice as an actor, but Gowri Nandha as Kannamma in Ayyappanum Koshiyum is ‘enough said’. A quick Google search says Gowri has worked in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam projects before landing the part of feisty Kannamma. She now has our attention.
Divya Prabha was quite a popular name in television before she played Jincy, one of the nurses who gets trapped in the war zone of Tikrit in Take Off. While the film brought Parvathy Thiruvothu much acclaim, Divya held her own with her moving performance. She has since been a part of films such as Nonsense and Thamaasha, but is yet to bag a feature that will do justice to her talent.
After her debut as the ballsy Rosamma in Kammatipaadam, Amalda has had just a handful of films to her credit, each of them noteworthy. Be it the mute wife who is privy to her husband’s blind faith in Trance or the no-nonsense boss in c u soon, Amalda has proved her mettle.