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The Joy Of Being Isolated In The Right Place Said Malavika Mohanan

The Joy Of Being Isolated In The Right Place Said Malavika Mohanan

Malavika Mohanan was born in 4 August 1993, is an Indian actress and model who works predominantly in Malayalam and Tamil language films. She made her acting debut in 2013 Malayalam film Pattam Pole and Tamil debut with Petta (2019).

The daughter of cinematographer K. U. Mohanan, Malavika made her acting debut with the romantic drama Pattam Pole (2013) opposite Dulquer Salmaan. Following a series of lead roles in Malayalam and Kannada films, she won critical acclaim after appearing in Majid Majidi’s drama film, Beyond the Clouds (2017), portraying a dweller of Mumbai’s dhobi ghat area.

She has appeared in a successful commercial films like, The Great Father (2017), Petta (2019) and Master (2021). Mohanan was born 4 August 1993 and is the daughter of cinematographer K. U. Mohanan. She was born and brought up in Mumbai while her family hails from Kerala.

Mohanan completed a degree in Mass Media at Wilson College, Mumbai, hoping to emulate her father as a cinematographer or as a director. Post her graduation, while she was contemplating taking up higher studies, she accompanied her father to a commercial shoot for a fairness cream, starring veteran Malayalam actor Mammootty. The actor subsequently enquired about Mohanan’s interest in acting, before offering her a role opposite his son, Dulquer Salmaan, in an upcoming Malayalam film. Mohanan took time to consider the proposal before passing an audition and accepting terms to star in Pattam Pole (2013), and gradually learned about the process of acting as the shoot progressed. Owing to the original costume designer’s illness, Mohanan also worked as her own designer for the project. The romantic drama film, which narrated the relationship between a Tamil Brahmin youth and a Christian girl, received mixed reviews and did not perform well at the box office. A critic from noted that Mohanan’s “peppy girl act is far from being perfect but shows promise”, while the Times of India’s reviewers suggested that she did a “decent job”. During the period, she continued having an interest in fashion, setting up an Indian ethnic fusion clothing brand called “The Scarlet Window”.

Her second film, Nirnayakam (2015), Mohanan portrayed as a ballet dancer, won good reviews but also met with a tepid response commercially. Another film during the period, Naale opposite Fahadh Faasil, saw her portray a tribal girl but was later dropped midway through production. In 2016, Mohanan worked on her first Kannada film, Naanu Mattu Varalakshmi (2016) opposite a debutant actor, Prithvi. Despite having a low-key release at the box office, the film won good reviews with Mohanan’s portrayal of the titular role of Varalakshmi being praised by critics. She then featured in the role of a police officer in the crime thriller The Great Father (2017), where she starred alongside an ensemble cast including Mammootty, Arya and Sneha. The film opened to positive reviews and performed well at the box office.

Mohanan’s breakthrough as an actress came through her role as Tara, a poor girl from Mumbai’s dhobi ghat area, in Majid Majidi’s drama film, Beyond the Clouds (2017). Following her successful audition, Majidi selected her ahead of renowned actresses Deepika Padukone and Kangana Ranaut for the role, which saw her portray the older sister of debutant Ishaan Khatter. She expressed her delight at working with Majidi so early in her career, especially considering that she regularly had to study and write essays on his films during her undergraduate course. For the film, Mohanan lost eight kilograms in fifteen days to film for a jail sequence, and opted not to wash her hair for several days on end to get the look of the slum dweller correct. The film was screened across several international festivals, before being released worldwide in April 2018. Mohanan won positive reviews for her portrayal, with Filmfare’s critic stating “Malavika Mohanan is a natural in front of the camera”. A reviewer from The Times of India stated she was “captivating in her honest portrayal” and “skilfully walks the fine line between passionate and melodramatic”, while The Hollywood Reporter called her “solid”.

In mid-2018, she signed on to appear in a role in Karthik Subbaraj’s Petta (2019), which would feature her alongside an ensemble cast including Rajinikanth, Vijay Sethupathi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. For the film, which marked her first project in the Tamil language, Mohanan hired a Tamil-speaking tutor to help her practice her lines. She then went on to appear in the Tamil action thriller film Master (2021) alongside Vijay, in which she played the role of Charulatha, a college lecturer. It became the highest grossing film in her career.

Mohanan has signed on to appear in Maaran directed by Karthick Naren opposite Dhanush and in the Hindi film Yudhra opposite Siddhant Chaturvedi. The latter is scheduled to release in Summer 2022.