A Malayali by birth, Mohanan grew up in Mumbai as her parents shifted to the city during her childhood days. However, she recollects, “I was brought up in a proper Malayali household and observed all Malayali customs. I grew up watching a lot of Malayalam movies as well. However, having friends from different cultural backgrounds and languages, I can easily adapt to a diverse range of settings.”
Malavika entered the film industry with a Malayalam movie starring Dulquer Salman called Pattam Pole. Although the movie did not fare well commercially, she had caught critics’ attention in a positive way. Malavika bagged this opportunity when she accompanied her father for a commercial shoot and was asked by Mamooty himself to act in the movie. However, talking about the movie’s success, she said, “I cannot put into words how broken I was when the film did not fare successfully. To add insult to injury, the trolls online had a field day at my expense. These trolls attack women specifically, an issue that many have spoken out about. I was body-shamed after the release of my first film and I was absolutely taken aback.”
Next she acted as a ballet dancer in Nirnayam, where she received great appreciation for her performance but the movie was again not a great success commercially. Then, after her debut into the Kannada industry with a movie called Nannu Maata Varalakshmi, she got the opportunity to collaborate with Academy Award winning Iranian director, Majid Majidi. “Honestly, I have no idea how I landed this film. I remember receiving a call from one of the casting directors. The director was leaning towards a fresh face and I ended up getting the project,” she said when asked about this movie where she acted alongside Ishaan Khatter.
She had a grand entry into the Tamil film industry with her debut movie itself being a Superstar movie. She recalled that Karthik Subbaraj’s team called her a year before Petta for her to act in a movie starring Dhanush. While she never received a call -back for that movie, she was called a year later for Petta. “I was almost certain this wouldn’t pan out either for me . But what do you know, they asked me to fly down to Chennai and do a photoshoot for them in the Madurai-Saree look. Finally, I was onboard! I love doing an out-and-out commercial film but my role must add some value to the story. I knew I was not playing the lead in Petta but I wanted my role to make a difference which it did. Of course, acting with Superstar Rajinikanth was something on my bucket list and I got to tick it off,” she declared proudly.
It is the dream of many in the industry to work with a Star like Rajinikanth. Malavika narrated her first meeting with such a star saying, “Me being a part of Petta is so instrumental to who I am today as a person. The first time I met Rajini sir was a day before my shoot began. My mother and I were really excited to meet him, basically just to be able to say hello to him. For the two to three minutes that we met him, he was so endearing, warm and welcoming. It was just unreal for me to even be in the same room as him and learn from him.”
The very next movie after Petta which made her known to the whole audience of Tamil cinema was Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Master. “The team from Master gave me a call and Lokesh quickly narrated the script to me; we had little time. I had watched Kaidhi and I really loved the film so I knew that his stories would be terrific. And of course, what better way to start as a lead in Tamil than with Vijay sir himself! Not only that, this was a whole dream team featuring Vijay Sethupathi sir and Anirudh so I did not even think twice before agreeing to do the film,” said Malavika.
Malavika’s social media handles are a sight to behold. While talking about who she is on social media, she revealed, ““I know, I know, but being yourself is the best way at it. I mean, if you start being fake on your social media how long do you think you could keep up the act? Honestly, I am very lazy to do that. Apart from that, I have a terrific team who knows what’s best for me and I am eternally grateful to them for helping me reflect myself on social media or in reality.”
Malavika is currently working on two other projects, Maaran in Tamil and Yudhra in Hindi. Maaran is a Karthick Naren film Starring Dhanush. In Yudhra, Malavika is acting opposite Siddhant Chaturvedi. While talking about her future she said, “I am very clear about my path. Five fears from now, I see myself doing some spectacular films with some memorable roles that will remain in my heart forever.” The Kollywood audience can’t wait to see her more on-screen with many more amazing and powerful roles!