Macho Meesha’d Men

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I get a daily email from Rediff.com. Usually I don’t have time to skim it for Sepia-ness, but tonight, I finished your 55s with time to spare so I gave it a cursory cook. :) Near the bottom of the tailored-to-my-preferences Rediff-o-gram were the following words: Top Malayalam Actors 2005. Like I could pass THAT headline up. ;)

Before the page even loaded in a foxy new tab, I knew I was going to spy with my round eye either Mohanlal or Mamooty. Survey says? The man to the right, Mohanlal. I found myself wondering, “Sheesh…ARE there other mallu phillum actors besides those two??”

Browsing through the pictorial essay taught me that Manoj K Jayan (Anandabhadram), Dileep (Chaandupottu) and Suresh Gopi (Bharat Chandran IPS) also act in the sort of films my Aunt and Uncle sigh over as they eat their kappa and karrimeen (washed down with kappi, natch). I don’t join in, mostly because I hate kappa and meen. ;)

Perusing all this coconut-flavored photography, all I could notice was moustaches. Malayalee men are devoted to them and I was actually shocked when I noticed that one of the men pictured (Jayan) did NOT have one. It weirds me out as I pause and grok that I NEVER saw my father without a meesha. Same with the majority of my uncles. Meanwhile, I loathe facial hair, goatees included. No wonder I’m not married. ;) Well, it’s either that or because I’m on the wrong team.

28 thoughts on “Macho Meesha’d Men

  1. Isn’t it funny how all the leading men/hero in malayalam filums are all potbellied and have jowls. Ahh karimeen, i miss my momma’s cookin’.

  2. You hate meen? -gasp- =O

    I remember, when I was younger, I always found it weird that my dad was the only one out of his group of friends without a moustache. He said he was clean shaven simply for the sake of rebellion.

  3. Amazing, M&M still top the lists some twenty years later! Then again, these guys are living legends – not just in Mallu films either. Check out Mamooty in “Ambedkar” and Mohanlal in “The Company”. Wah!

    I tease my young male cousins in India who ALL have the standard upper-lip mush, which makes them look so uncle-like. They give me a hard time over my “French-beard” :)

    Meanwhile, I loathe facial hair, goatees included.

    Aw, shucks! :(

  4. You hate meen? -gasp- =O

    i’ve only had it once, by accident, but yes, i spit it right back out. i’m a strict vegetarian. :) always have been: mummy’s pregnancy was fueled by green grapes and strawberry ice cream. it’s always nthoimbe at my house. ;)

    Meanwhile, I loathe facial hair, goatees included.
    Aw, shucks! :(

    awwwww. no worries, kuttan. some of my favorite people have them. :)

  5. What… Anna… wtf…….you are in your own team……sigh!! our loss…..but as long as you are happy and “proud” that is all that matters…

  6. seriously though… is it taboo to shave off the moustache – a sign of emasculation? – does it invite ridicule – just curious about the tradition and the cultural background

  7. It’s not just Mallu, the whole of south India is moustache-land.

    is it taboo to shave off the moustache – a sign of emasculation?

    In a Tamil movie, Sivaji Ganesan is taunted by the heroine to wear a saree as he had shaven off his lip-hair.

    Or worse (from a south Indian standpoint), one could ridiculed as a “northie” (derogatory for north Indian).

    The moustache was sacrosanct for the anti-Hindi anti-Brahmin Dravidian movement – the clean-shaven man was either a northie or a Brahmin, both anathema.

  8. Isn’t it funny how all the leading men/hero in malayalam filums are all potbellied and have jowls.

    It’s the Indian masculine ideal. North Indian leading men used to be the same way before globalization kicked in.

  9. “It’s the Indian masculine ideal. North Indian leading men used to be the same way before globalization kicked in.”

    Yes and no. At one point even in America and Europe, “mooch” was in. In Middle East, even today, it is. In fact, I used to have a mooch once and had funny discussion on lunch where some of the white Americans about beards and mostaches and they jokingly told me of “gilette conspiracy”. In New England area, beard is masculine and in vogue even today. Almost all white, male field scientists (geologists, oceanographers, biologists) have beards to lessen chances of skin cancer and logistics for extended periods of field work.

    About North Indian leading man with “mooch” in past – yes and no. Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Amitabh B., Rajendra Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Dharmendra – were clean shaven – they were all before globalization. Only Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Anil Kapoor – are exceptions – the ones who come to mind. Modern actors tend not carry distinct markers so that they can have wider variety of roles to play – like the likes of Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Tom Cruise, Ben Kingsley – they keep changing. Just check in how many roles Robert DeNiro had facial hair and how many not.

  10. It’s not just Mallu, the whole of south India is moustache-land.

    Actually even in Northern parts very rarely you will find non-moustache men. Untill 10-15 years back only men who didnt have it were mostly employed ones. I remember my family having issues when i shaved off mine @ 16. There argument was men are only supposed to shave off moustache after cremating their parents. For some reasons Hindi film hero’s has been non-moustache since a long time.

  11. Anna, please tell me you love Mathi! That’s the only reason my parents go down to San Fransisco- to buy loads of mathi and bring it back here for cheap..

  12. You meen what you meen? But you can’t be so mean…ahhh.. whatever…am bored…

    Yeah, I know what chemeen…which is coincidentally pretty good with rice.

    har har har… alright, no more malayanglish jokes for me. =P

  13. Meanwhile, I loathe facial hair

    I am usually bald as an egg on the face. :)

    @aNTi: Dude. Can’t help but drag that joke here too, can you?

  14. “No wonder IÂ’m not married. ;) Well, itÂ’s either that or because IÂ’m on the wrong team.”

    Awww!!! Anna you can marry me any day. but it will be a mercy thing and not at all for the right reasons. I’ll even shave off my cat.

    Moh’d Koya.

  15. What… Anna… wtf…….you are in your own team……sigh!! our loss…..but as long as you are happy and “proud” that is all that matters…

    You are too sweet. That entire post I linked to discusses how “happy” and “proud” I am of being on the “South Asian” team. That is the team you were thinking of, right? ;)

    Awww!!! Anna you can marry me any day. but it will be a mercy thing and not at all for the right reasons. I’ll even shave off my cat.

    How generous of you! I’ll be all right though, no worries. :D

  16. true!…globalization and gillette conspiracy (quotes) caught many in the north + campus kissings started early in the north? cute and feminine ‘heroes’ from hindi movies inspired quite a large. talking about M&M being at the top; talent gets recognized. public laugh when salman khan cries-thats inspiration!!!…

    anybody can cook. to make good food you have to be mom. (not mother wendy’s LOL)..try next time as you try tuna…

  17. Well you gotta admit that inspite of their moustaches and body fat %, M & M made a significant contribution to Indian cinema. Those guys have serious acting potential and since malayalam cinema largely reflects the ethos of the people and they do a good job of portraying it.

  18. Well you gotta admit that inspite of their moustaches and body fat %, M & M made a significant contribution to Indian cinema. Those guys have serious acting potential and since malayalam cinema largely reflects the ethos of the people,they do a good job of portraying it.

  19. You are too sweet. That entire post I linked to discusses how “happy” and “proud” I am of being on the “South Asian” team. That is the team you were thinking of, right? ;)

    Right…Right…Absolutely ;-)

  20. i get what srikanth said about the anti-hindi, anti-brahmin (all upper-caste, actually) movement. my grandfather, who is a nair, and all my nair appooppans were/are cleanshaven, but now most of the men, orthodox and nair, in my family sport meeshas or the far more adorable french beards