Padam Onnu, Meerayude Vilapam | Chakpak
     

Padam Onnu, Meerayude Vilapam

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Films were not in the wildest of dreams of Jasmine Mary Joseph. All she ever wished was to become a doctor. But fortunately or unfortunately, she could not manage to get through the medical entrance hurdle and had to let go of this dream.

She joined Changanassery Assumption College for a degree in Zoology, and it was then that Blessy, then associate of the late filmmaker Lohitadas, spotted her. The rest, as we Malayalis have witnessed is history. Jasmine Mary Joseph evolved spectacularly from an ordinary Christian girl with simple dreams to Meera Jasmine, a National Award winning actress.

Making her debut with much acclaimed director Lohitadas’s Soothradharan(2001) opposite Dileep, Meera didn’t take much time to make her mark in the list of the talented artists of the industry. She grew beyond the boundaries of Mollywood and her presence was engraved in golden letters in Kollywood, Tollywood and Sandalwood. The gifted actress even succeeded to make her own, the title of the National Award for best actress for her excellent performance in T.V.Chandran’s Paadam Onnu, Oru Vilaapam (2003) in which she realistically portrayed the angst and agony of ‘Shahina’, a 15 year old who was compelled to tie the wedlock when she was getting ready for her SSLC examination. She was touted to be one of the most talented actresses Malayalam cinema has ever seen.  Yet suddenly, Meera vanished from the glamour and glitter of the filmdom. Where is Meera Jasmine? This has been the question that lingered in the minds of her ardent fans for several months.

It is believed that lack of professionalism and the rough-and-tumbles in the personal life have led the actress into a self-imposed exile.  It was abuzz that the failure of her love affair and the indiscipline in career were the factors that led the actress into this great plunge. Media persons who were trying to trace her or to contact her over the phone failed in their attempts. She was not found at her homes in Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad or Bangalore.

But the latest reports say that Meera has been living in a house in Ernakulam with her relatives. It remains an irony that she had once lashed out at her relatives in a public function a few years back, alleging that they were trying to confiscate her wealth. There was a time when even the superstars waited for the dates of Meera Jasmine. Good films came to her. But later, the problems in her personal life reflected in her career and she failed to maintain her pace, and the industry pulled up its stakes.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to retrospect the status of prestigious National Award winning actresses of the Malayalam cinema. All the three awardees in the past two and a half decade were not busy actresses.  Monisha, who brought the National Award to Kerala in 1986, Shobhana who walked away with the top honour in 1993 and lastly Meera Jasmine in 2004 were selective in their careers at least after triumphing the big honour.  A prominent question that starts to hover in one’s mind is that whether a talented, gifted actress can necessarily survive in the male dominated industry? Does the industry pamper only the less talented, naive actresses who play the beautiful puppets around imposing Superstars?

Meera, as a part of her struggle to hold out in the industry has ensued in signing up with low profile Tamil and Malayalam films. Mohabbat and Four Friends, the last two Malayalam releases of Meera illustrate this fact substantially. Her ardent fans cogitate that she should not have done both films. Are these instances for a pitiful fall of a talented actress?The recent reports say that the actress has signed up with Sathyan Anthikkad for a movie opposite Mohanlal. The duo had earlier come together in Sathyan’s Innathe Chinthavishayam (2008) and Rasathanthram (2006). It is learned that the consideration of her still being a good actress has paved the way for her to this movie.

The actress who had suffered several drop-offs and deceptions in the career may now be wishing to start everything anew from a plane sheet. It is mere foolishness to chuck out the life itself for a reported failure of a love affair.  If Meera is willing to gauge her falls and remedy her mistakes, there will be certainly a place for her in Malayalam cinema, especially now when Malayalam cinema is in a position and need to recall such gifted actresses as her.