It wouldn’t be wrong to say that some of the greatest finds in cinema, the most relatable, the most shades of gray, come from the supporting cast. This year too we have some surprise debuts and some undeniably stupendous character actors in the running. They’ve been given meaty roles, and they have delivered.
Vinayakan (Kammatipaadam): Ganga has always lived under the shadow of his brother Balan—he hero worships him. He is a bit of a contradiction —he nurses an affection for the woman promised as his wife, yet is very rude to her. He knows his best friend Krishnan is in love with her but he doesn’t think twice before telling him that he has every intention of marrying her. Vinayakan simply lives as the bucktoothed, crude and irrational Ganga. The two stages of his life, youth and middle age, are enacted with aplomb by the actor. He was equally smashing as the villainous dabba operator John in Kali.
Alencier (MaheshintePrathikaram): “Plenty of designing works ulla sthapanamanu Baby Arts Prakash,” pronounces proprietor Baby to his new trainee Crispin. That’s just one side of the man. Babychan is also Mahesh’s best buddy, a reason why he hatches a master plan to help him meet his girlfriend only to find himself in a hilarious mess. He is also a protective father, a reason why he gives a dressing down to Crispin only to get outfoxed in return. Alencier effortlessly slips into Babychan’s garb—evoking laughter at the most unsuspecting situations. And with that he continues to be one of the mainstays in Malayalam cinema today.
Manikandan (Kammatipaadam): Balan chettan is the uncrowned hero for the boys of Kammatipaadam. He is aggressive, spouts profanities, has a quick temper and is a mean fighter. But underneath it all is a man who can bowl you over with his loyalty and friendship. If ever you need a friend to fight for your life—it is him. Manikandan, who makes his acting debut as Balan, is superbly convincing. He, with his unruly mop of curly hair, is the biggest find of Malayalam cinema this year.
Chemban Vinod (Kali): There is something frighteningly unnerving about Chakkara. He drives a lorry, fantasises about skimpily clad women and hides his wickedness behind a deceptively calm smile. He and Sidharth start on the wrong foot but then he has his eyes already fixed on Anjali. Chemban, is fantastic as Chakkara, more so as he isn’t your in-your-face creep—he mildly leers and it sends shivers down your spine, just as it does for Anjali.
Ashwin Kumar (JacobinteSwargarajyam): Murali Menon is a plain-speaking businessman, a loving family man and though he is sympathetic at first, his patience starts to wean off once he realises that his money might probably not be returned. Ashwin Kumar makes a powerful debut and apart from having the screen presence he is mighty good in the scenes where he gradually makes the transition from good to bad.
Suraj Venjaramoodu (Karinkunnam6’s): Nelson is a bad-tempered, stern Jail Warden. He isn’t amused by the newly appointed lady volleyball coach (Manju Warrier) and makes his displeasure known to her. Suraj has already displayed his ability to make the switch from comedy to serious roles but here he is as substantial as a baddie.
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Fullpicture is an exclusive, comprehensive, online English magazine on Malayalam cinema, put together by a team of experienced journalists who share a passion for everything about Malayalam cinema. The idea is to put out well-written and well-researched features, exclusive interviews,...