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Home»News»When Mammootty said that Kannada has been lucky for him, even though he never returned to Sandalwood»

When Mammootty said that Kannada has been lucky for him, even though he never returned to Sandalwood

The Malayalam superstar ‘debuted’ in Kannada cinema with Abhay Simha’s Shikari in 2012.

  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 05.54 AM, Aug 06, 2022

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When Mammootty said that Kannada has been lucky for him, even though he never returned to Sandalwood
The Malayalam superstar's only Kannada film is Abhay Simha's Shikari

Fans of Malayalam superstar Mammootty are currently celebrating 51 years of Mammootyism on social media. Yes, the actor made his first few appearances that many years ago, but it wasn’t until a decade later that he began to be noticed and started getting more relevant roles. In that sense, he’s still years away from celebrating his golden jubilee in cinema.

But did you know that the actor, who primarily works in Malayalam, has done a Kannada film too? Well, back in 2010, Kannada filmmaker K Manju got Mammootty to star in director Abhay Simha’s follow up to his 2008 National Award-winning children’s film, Gubbachigalu. Called Shikari, the film, which was made in Kannada and Malayalam had Mammootty and leading lady Poonam Bajwa in dual roles, set across different time periods. The basic premise of the film revolved around a man trying to find the missing pages of a manuscript he stumbles upon.

When it released, Shikari did not set the box office on fire; in the Kannada version, it got a few favourable reviews, but the Malayalam one was widely panned, with the actor being called out for playing a 35-year -old unmarried man in search of love, when he was pushing close to 60.

The shoot of Shikari in Bengaluru is what got me my first-ever meeting with my favourite actor. At the first press conference of the film, he’d refused to give anyone exclusive bytes, asking them to come to the set instead. I’m guessing he didn’t reckon anyone would take him up on his word; I did. The Abbiah Naidu studio was the setting; the only time I was a tad starstruck. So much so that I did not even take offence to being mildly body-shamed by the actor. The result of that meeting was a brief encounter with a fitness regime that had as quick a death as Shikari did at the box office.

But inspired I was, however short-lived it was, which he noticed and appreciated the next time we met at the Bengaluru Palace Grounds, where a song sequence was being canned. Green tea was his go-to drink back then itself. A balanced diet, eaten at the right time and a moderate exercise regime is what keeps him going, he had said, adding that his youthful looks are god-given.

The box office failure of Shikari meant that Mammootty never set foot in Sandalwood again. It’s an industry that he says, he never intended to have a career in, but playing a Kannadiga, though, has been lucky for him – his role in Vidheyan got him a National Award.

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