Ticket to Mollywood

Beauty queens-turned-actresses say their pageant stint has indeed been a great platform that has not only given them exposure but also prepared them for the arclights

Though Mollywood has had its share of actresses who have found their way into the industry after winning beauty pageants, not many have made it big in the silver screen.

However, now, a new crop of pageant-winners-turned-actresses are changing the scenario, with many being cast as leading actresses in recent and upcoming Mollywood films.

Gayathri Suresh, who is making her debut through the upcoming Thomas K. Sebastian movie, Jamna Pyari, in a lead role, is the latest entrant. She holds titles of Miss Kerala, Miss Beautiful Skin and Miss Photogenic in various pageants to her credit. “I was Miss Kerala 2014 and it was this title that brought me the limelight. This was how the film crew identified me for the role. The scriptwriter and director of Jamna Pyari came and met me to discuss the film while I was attending the grooming session of another pageant, Miss Queen of India, and, after a few days, the producer came and met me as well. But I still wasn’t sure I would get the role. So, when they finally called me up and said I had the role, I was ecstatic. It was a dream come true for me as I always had an interest in acting and a passion for films,” says the actress.

Deepti Sati, who debuted into films with Lal Jose’s Nee-Na in a bold avatar, is also a product of the pageant industry and has multiple titles like Miss Kerala, Miss Talented, Miss Iron Maiden, Navy Queen besides being a finalist for Miss India and Indian Princess pageants.

Mareena Michael Kurisingal, who played the leading lady in the recently released Mumbai Taxi, is another such example. The actress, who was crowned Miss Beautiful Smile at the Miss Malabar Beauty Pageant, had done a couple of character roles in Nellika and Haram besides a couple of other language films. She will also be seen in the upcoming Nadirsha film Amar Akbar Anthony.

“Pageants helped in building my confidence and attaining the attitude to carry myself and hold my posture. The grooming sessions I received during this time played a huge part in making me more feminine. I used to be a tomboy before! It was one of the co-ordinators from these pageants who helped me break into the modelling industry, which ultimately led to my role in films. I would say 80 per cent of my acting skills are derived from my modelling and pageant experience,” says Mareena.

Miss South India and Miss Catwalk Aileena, who is a final year student of masters in International Business at St Joseph’s College of Commerce, Bangalore, debuted into the film industry through a small role in Hi, I’m Tony, but found a significant role, as the pair of Sijoy Varghese in Ayaal Njanalla, only this year, after winning the pageant title.

“Honestly, you never really know when Lady Luck is opening up new doors for you to enter the film industry. But pageants are always a great way to get a huge exposure. It is an event where you meet a lot of people from different walks of life and you get a chance to interact with them. Every pageant is different and each of them offers you various ways to improve yourself as a person. Pageants have definitely helped me in the film industry in this sense,” says Aileena who got the role in the movie thanks to a casting manager friend she met this way.

Though the increasing number of pageants held every year throughout the country has diminished the value of these pageant titles as far as Bollywood is concerned, the models and new entrants from Kerala who enter the pageant world with silver screen ambitions can give a sigh of relief as the Mollywood industry is proving itself a favourable ground for their dreams to grow and nurture.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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