Evergreen heroine: Meena

Deccan Chronicle.  | Deepthi Sreenivasan

Entertainment, Mollywood

Meena has been a superstar for over two decades by pairing up with every big star down South.


Her dimpled smile and doe-eyed charm had won the hearts of Malayalis long ago. Back in the early 90s Meena was remembered as the girl in the song  Unni Vavavo..., but it did not take her long to grow out of it. Soon, young Meena won hearts across South India. Till date, Meena is one of those actresses who own the rare recognition of having played lead roles with various industry biggies, right from her initial days as a child artiste. When it comes to Mollywood, she has been part of some of the best films and today, the pretty actress is basking in the success of Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol.  What shines out here yet again is her onscreen chemistry with Mohanlal.

The duo has previously delivered hit films such as Drishyam, Udayananu Tharam, Olympian Anthony Adam and Varnapakittu. Asked how the duo succeeds in creating such an easy chemistry, she says, “I think that is the magic of being an actor. When we portray a character, we become the character and try to do full justice to it — from the walking style to the body language. And of course, the screenplay helps a lot. Fortunately, all the characters I’ve been getting are more practical — people we come across every day.” In Munthirivallikal Thalirkumbol, Meena plays Annieyamma, a typical home maker.

“We see a lot of women like that around us. They have their things to do at home, busy with kids and watching serials. When women work in an office, that’s different, but when they are home this is what they do.” Quizzed about how she ends up picking scripts that turn into huge box office success, Meena says, “You can figure out whether it will work out for you or not when they tell you about your character and the screenplay.” Meena has portrayed both the bubbly heartthrob and the mature mom onscreen. Elaborating on handling the serious homemaker roles, she says, “I have been playing mature characters for a very long time. I’ve played a mom in Avvai Shanmughi. It is not that I choose to do a home maker’s role after marriage. It depends on the character and the story. These are the only things I have always given importance to.” Meena is actively involved in projects across the South Indian film industry.

So, does she get meaty roles in other industries like in Mollywood? “Not really. Malayalam is always quite different. That is why you see me more in Malayalam,” she laughs. “In fact, people from other industries always complain that I don’t do enough projects there. But there has to be something interesting about the character. I have been working for some time now and right now, my priority is my family. So when I have to stay away from them, the role should be worth it.” Meena’s daughter Nainika who is much like her mom won hearts by playing Vijay’s daughter in Theri. So how does Nainika react to her mom’s stardom? “She has adjusted to my career just like any child would adjust to a working mom. And yes, she knows that her mom is a star. She says ‘My mommy is a superstar’ and now has started calling herself a superstar,” she laughs. However, Meena has not signed any new project and will be part of a Tamil reality show Senior-Junior as a judge.