There are only two mega stars in the tottering Malayalam cinema industry – Mammootty and Mohanlal. (See Malayalam Cinema: Going, going, gone?) They were superstars till a few years back but were elevated to the higher rank. I can’t answer the question ‘by whom’.
It was not like a Lt. General becoming General or a Secretary becoming Chief Secretary. A few of the next in line heroes (some of them are good) were stagnating and required a new label to enhance their market value and someone had a bright idea. Mammootty and Mohanlal were tagged megastars and the others became superstars.
Not that the change made any difference to performance of the actors. Perhaps their rates went up. Histrionic talent wise Malayalam cinema is well stocked. It is just that some of the actors got stereotyped. Anyway, there is room at the top and near the top for all of them. That is, provided the industry survives.
Mammootty and Mohanlal are great artistes by any standards, anywhere, anytime. Who is better among the two is a meaningless question according to me. (Malayalam cinema: Random thoughts)
Any rivalry between them should be on a healthy level. I have not met either of them. I am sure they are decent people who would not involve in petty squabbles. But the same cannot be said of all their fans. Many of their followers are organized into ‘clubs’.
The conflict between the fans of the mega stars came into the open with the release of the star-studded production ‘Twenty Twenty’ promoted by the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA). Almost all top actors including Mammootty and Mohanlal are in the cast.
The protest was sparked off by the posters of that film. Mohanlal supporters felt that Mammootty was given more prominence in the publicity material. It is said that the producers brokered an understanding with the agitating fan clubs to enable smooth release of the movie.
But the embers flared again when the Mammootty film ‘Love in
I believe that the posters cost Rs.133 each, and flexi boards Rs.60000 each. One can imagine the extent of this meaningless destruction. The poor producers, many of whom are already deeply in the red, have to bear the additional and unplanned expense.
The simple logic the fans should understand is that even the best actor has a stage only if producers are around to risk the money to make movies. That some film makers producing low quality pictures should close shop is another matter.
[This is inspired by a report in the Malayala Manorama Chennai edition of 18th February.]