It was Mammootty who lifted the esteem of Malayalam film industry in Tamil Nadu
Back in the 80s and 90s South Indian film industry was mostly centered in Chennai. Malayalam films were shot and processed in the sprawling film studios in Chennai. Yesteryear actress Menaka Suresh, recently in a TV chat show revealed how Malayali artists were treated in Tamil Nadu those days.
According to her, industry people from Tamil Nadu were impertinent with the unity of the Malayalam film industry. Malayali artists and assistants from the sets dine together during breaks. However, in Tamil and Telugu cinema locations, they have seperate rooms for each artist. Malayali artists were not given rooms and were asked to do their make- up in the open. It was Mammootty who stressed the need for separate rooms for Malayali actors also. During those days, Malayalam movies were dubbed and released with obscene titles in Tamil. However, people started taking notice of our industry after the release of Mammootty’s movies like Nirakkoottu and New Delhi.
Menaka Suresh has acted in around 116 movies, mostly in Malayalam. She has also acted in Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Telugu. She has worked with most of the leading stars of that time, including Prem Nazir, Soman, Sukumaran to Shankar, Mammootty, Mohanlal and Rajinikanth.