Since the festival season is in full swing for the Keralite community in the UAE, a number of programmes and events are planned to celebrate the harvest festival of Kerala in a traditional style.
Apart from various stage shows, entertainment events and food festivals planned for the million strong community, a special event will be hosted to recognise a number of Gulf-returned non resident Indian actors, actresses and members of the film fraternity who lived and worked in the UAE before moving to Kerala.
A number of Gulf Keralites entered the film industry as film producers, but now they've excelled in various other fields such as acting, directing and financing.
For the first time in the entertainment show history in the UAE, more than 20 Malayalam film personalities will be brought together to perform as part of the Onam Celebrations.
“Joy Mathew, Asha Sharath, Mamtha, Anjali Menon, Iqbal Kuttippuram, Vinjay Babu, Mithin Ramewsh, Nyla Ushare and Moideen Koya are among 23 film personalities who are doing excellent as producers, actors and in other fields of the Malayalam film industry. Even though Dubai has hundreds of stage shows and awards every year, nobody has seriously considered honouring the former Dubai residents who are now doing well in the Malayalam hit movies,” said Habeeb Rahman, Managing Director, Benchmark Media, organiser of Kerala Fest Grand Finale at the Al Naser Leisureland.
“We have selected 23 former Dubaiites, who were either doing business or working in Dubai,” Rahman said.
Asha Sharath, a Dubai resident who is running the Kala Kendram Dance School, did an excellent performance in the Tamil version of Drushyam against Indian superstar Kamal Hassan. The movie which is originally in Malayalam, starring Mohanlal and Asha Sharath, is made in multiple languages including Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. The Hindi movie starring Ajay Devgan is also receiving excellent reviews.
“Joy Mathew acted in more than 60 Malayalam films within a short time. In Dubai, he was a journalist and he became popular after directing his first movie, Shutter, which was quite successful. He also successfully performed the role of a priest in movie called Amen,” said Albert Alex, one of the film personalities who has acted in a number of movies.
Alex, who himself has acted in Arabikkatha, Persiakkaran, Kalyanism, Shutter, PattPathemari Rasam and Uthiopiyayile Rajavu, is among the 23 artists who are selected to be part of the Grand Finale.
“My friend Vinay Babu, who has acted in many hit Malayalam movies, too came from Dubai. He has acted in more than 10 movies and his latest heroic role is Neena, which was directed by Lal Jose. He has produced a movie Peruschazhi with Mohanlal and his production house in Kochi is also doing well,” said Alex, who has been living in the UAE for 18 years.
Moideen Koya, who has acted in 15 Malayalam movies and is gearing up for the release of his latest Pathemari, Ameoba and Kattumakkan movies, is also excited about getting honoured in Dubai.
“For the first time that I am being recognized for my role in movies. I feel that all my friends in the film industry, especially like KPP Vengara, who has acted in six movies, will be coming back to the Gulf during Onam,” said Moideen Koya.
“Kerala Fest is honouring the great talents of Malayalamm film industry who were part of Gulf, some of them were born and brought up here, some worked or did business in Dubai before the said goodbye to the Gulf and started making waves in the Malayalam film industry. Gulf Keralites are an integral part of Malayalam film industry now,” added Habeeb.
Nyla Usha, an RJ of Malayalam radio station Hit 96.7, has played heroine role against superstar Mamootty while her colleagues Mithun has acted in several hit movies including the newly-released Madhura Naranga (Sweet Lemon).
Jean Markose another RJ has produced his first movie, while Adil Ibrahim has played lead role in Persiakkaran, a Malayalam movie filmed in the UAE. It tells the story of Overseas Keralites living in the UAE.
List of former Dubai residents who are being honoured during Kerala Fest Onam celebrations are Joy Mathew, Mamta Mohandas, Asha Sharath, Nasriya, Anjali Menon, Reenu Mathews, Divya Pillai, Iqbal Kuttippuram, Sijoy Varghese, Vijay Babu, Mithun, Nyla Usha, Jean Markose, Adil Ibrahim, Moideen Koya, Nisha Joseph, Albert Alex, KPK Vengara, Joshy S Mangalam, Assim Jamal, Kris Iyer and Rajan Varkala. Iqbal Kuttippuram, a homeopathy doctor in Karama, has to his credit many hit Malayalam movies, starting with Arabikatha that told the tale of Gulf Keralites in style.
The entertainment event will have play back singers, George Peter, Reshmi Satheeshan, Vinod Kavoor and Surabhi. Pranav Pradeep, a Dubai based dancing sensation.