Starbursts on the Malayalam Screen | Saleema

Saleema Malayalam Actor

First off, let us be very clear on this.

The actor who debuted ( Thanks Gopalakrishnan for the update. This is historical ! ) along with Monisha Unni  in Nakhakshathangal (1986)  is Saleema. As in S-A-L-E-E-M-A or S-A-L-I-M-A, depends on how you want to look at it. Not Saleena nor Salina. The emphasis is M, and not N. Vineeth Nambiar had debuted in IV Sasi’s Idanilangal in 1985, so, this ain’t technically his debut film. The one that made him a household name, maybe.

Nakhakshathangal (1986) Credit Titles

Just so you know.

If you were someone who watched Nakhakshathangal in your neighborhood cinema and went moony over Gowri, I am sure what genuinely got under your skin was this spunky, absolute natural ‘behavior onscreen’ of this debutante with ‘unconventional looks’ [ Yes, you can interpret that in any way you want, please :) ]. With Saleema, our film makers had a very strange situation in their hands, as far as I look at it. Here was a brilliant actor, extraordinarily talented, an absolute natural onscreen, but refused to ‘conform’ to the ‘established (read ingrained) notions of a ‘heroine’ onscreen. I remember reading during that time that her roots were in Tamil Nadu, but am not sure. If anyone knows how she came to Director Hariharan’s attention, please do share. When one looks at the   roles written for her – the best came from MT Vasudevan Nair, but her career graph went on a tailspin after her first two movies.The latter were, I feel, trying to conform to the ‘commercial requirements of a performer’ on screen, and I think she seemed to have lost that zest and spunkiness in them, more like an also-ran.

Nakhakshathangal (1986)

Saleema in Nakhakshathangal (1986)

Admit it. As you watched Nakhakshathangal, your grudging admiration for this debutante grew by the minute. Saleema‘s debut role was that of  Lakshmi, the beautiful, deaf and mute daughter, and the powerful end of a love triangle that drives the story. The most amusing and interesting part is, though she never uttered a word in the entire movie, you felt that she spoke just the right words with her eyes and her body, which can be quite a challenge, when you are facing the arclights for the first time. Of course, with two brilliant craftsmen at the helm, MT Vasudevan Nair and Hariharan, there was hardly an room for things going wrong, but, hey, let’s face it, debut performances usually hold the key to one’s career. Although  a large part of the credit goes to MT’s screenplay, it wouldn’t have had as much effect had it not have been for the perfect actors who portrayed the roles, and I believe Saleema outclassed herself in her first outing itself. There are two scenes from the movie that always stays with me. One is the instance where she requests Ramu ( Vineet) to write something for her, and he writes that classic verse, “ആരെയും ഭാവഗായകനാക്കും ആത്മസൌന്ദര്യമാണ് നീ “, the way her face lights up and her reaction to the lines blows you away. Probably it was one of the few instances on the Malayalam screen where the girl in love so emphatically and literally ‘sealed her intention with a kiss.’ The second is when she lets her father know of her decision on the heartbreaking turn of events through a note, and as her father ( Jagannatha Verma ) looks up to her face, the emotions that fleet across her face is beyond compare. Nuanced, subtle but it said everything.

Aareyum Bhava Gaayakanaakkum from Nakhakshathangal.

Niramulla Raavukal (1986 )

Saleema with Pratapachandran in Niramulla Raavukal (1986) * [ Thanks Deepak for the input ]
Saleema as a teen hooker in M Krishnan Nair‘s Niramulla Raavuakal (1986), a sort of “multi-cameod soft-porn” offering is sure to have you sit and scratch your head hard. Of the dizzying number of ‘temptations of the flesh’ thrust into absurd situations so that M Krishnan Nair could conveniently yank off their clothes, her short appearance thankfully (atleast in the crappy VCD I got) stayed within reasonably sane limits. There actually isn’t anything more to be said. She had a role in Niramulla Raavukal. End of matter. :)

Kurukkan Raajavaayi (1987)

Saleema in Kurukkan Raajaavayi (1987)

For the life of me, I just have no idea how she landed up in this one. Was it a gag-fest? Now as you revisit it, you look for a space in between your sofa upholstery to crawl into. This seems to be one of the tail-end movies directed by P Chandrakumar in the real world before he crossed over to the land of soft-porn, starting with Aadi Papam. Anyways, coming back to the movie, Saleema as Raaji played the love interest to Manianpillai Raju‘s ‘aimless, love-sick bumpkin’, someone who takes the help of his dear friend to help him fall in love with her – the whole movie script had you thinking hard on what exactly were you thinking when you decided to watch the movie !  Compared to this, Prassi Malloor‘s Loose, Loose, Arappiri Loose (1990) was Oscar material. This wasn’t Priyadarshanesque screwball comedy, this was leagues beneath.There wasn’t much Saleema had to do but wear 80′s ‘modern-girl dresses and accessories, drive a Fiat Premier Padmini and look very bimbette’. Oh, and yes, mouth gems like, “You are the one that I see in my dreams everyday ” to two people, both fast friends ! Wasted.

Aaranyakam (1988)

Saleema in Aaranyakam A worthy follow-up to her debut act in Nakshakshathangal (1986). I believe we remember her more for Ammini in Aranyakam than anything else. Saleema played the pivotal character of Ammini, the lonesome, seemingly introvert, mischievous, wacky and brilliant – the proverbial diamond in the rock, which also seemed to me another approach on the same theme that MT expressed through Kuttyedathi too ..don’t you think so? Though unlike the latter, here, she was educated and had social security. Kuttyedathi had neither. I feel MT again revisited the ‘ugly duckling’, this time from another angle, in Ennu Swantham Janakikutty (1998) [ based on his story Cheriya Cheriya Bhookambangal]. Ammini is slave to her daydreams, an astute lover of nature, fits the ‘solitary traveler’ to a T, and is so overwhelmingly folded up on her ‘inadequacy to conform to social niceties and existing standards.’  The very reason, why her best friends are her personal diary, books, birds and insects around the countryside, in that order. And surprisingly, it is this introvert that seem to end up forming bonds of physical attraction, compatibility and admiration with the two main male protagonists of the movie, albeit in two different levels. A stellar role, reinforced some divine music by Reghunath Seth to lyrics by ONV Kurup, every song has been an evergreen classic. Saleema was Amminikkutty. Period.

Olichirikkan Vallikkudilonnorukki vechilley from Aaranyakam.

Mahayaanam (1989)

Saleema in Mahayaanam (1989)

From the Hariharan school to Joshiy‘s was an interesting ‘transition’. Saleema in Mahaayanam didn’t have to much other than being the customary ‘repressed, loved heart within the palatial four walls’ and react suitably pained in the few minutes of screentime she had. Heck, anyone could have done that role. It was also delightful to watch Vineeth romancing Saleema for the third time, and sadly, still go unfulfilled. It must have been Lohithadas‘ script that gave a certain lil’ magic and mystique to what would have been otherwise a staple Joshiy Ketchup Fest, a certain amount of, shall I say, ‘edge-of-the-seat-respectability.’ Saleema was Molly, the ‘pining for love’ daughter of Kochuvarkey ( Prathap Chandran in a stellar role ), the local feudal lord who takes even the movement of a bedbug against  his will personally. So it can only mean nuclear fission when he comes to know that his lowly page-boy-cum-doormat-cum-runner-cum-junior-accountant is madly in love with his daughter and catches them in a tender moment. The story evolves into more expected violence and gore, but sadly, Saleema isn’t there playing any part of it. Mahayaanam is somehow one of my fondest movies of Joshiy, and the handful that came in the 90′s, that somehow with much difficulty restrained its cuss and curse elements, and still managed to keep you interested. A wonderful premise of a journey, a stranger enters a strange land with a dead body, and returns with another loved one’s. Beautiful.

A clipping from the movie.

Vandanam (1989)

Saleema in VandanamAh, Priyadarshan‘s version of  John Badham’s Stakeout (1987), with some ill-fitting wigs and slapstick thrown in for good measure.  Saleema plays Professor Kurian Fernandes’ favorite student who gets raped and killed and the charges stuck on him by the conniving college management. Umm..that was it. Before you knew, it was over on screen. Again, how she ended up in that role is beyond me.

Meghangaley from Vandanam.

So, here we are.

3 years, 5  6 movies , and she was gone ! If anyone has more information, would love to hear from you.

Do write in.

Update : Jayanan Vincent, acclaimed cinematographer [who was also  the director of cinematography for Mahayaanam ] tells me that Saleema is the daughter of the famous Telugu actress and comedienne from the sixties, Girija. Aha!

Update : From an interview with Vineeth found at Manorama Online,

Vineet on Saleema

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103 thoughts on “Starbursts on the Malayalam Screen | Saleema

  1. CM.. i think now you should edit the first line of this article.. because NAKASHTHANGAL was the 3rd movie of SALEEMA.. and it took almost 3 years (from the date of this article posted here) for me to find out the real fact. CM might not have seen P Chandrakumar’s NJAN PIRANNA NATTIL and Rajasenan’s SANTHAM BEEKARAM. NJAN PIRANNA NATTIL was the debut film of SALEEMA.. and here is the clip proving my point. so CM now its total 8 movies of saleema.

    • Thank you Gopalakrishnan for this invaluable update. Would it be possible to share more details on her role in the movie? Have also learned that there is one more movie Theruvunarthaki which featured her. Quickly surfed through the movie’s video available on Youtube but couldn’t locate her. It might be possible that (a) It may be an error (b) probably would have been a ‘blink-and-you-miss’ appearance which went missing in the digital version.

      Thank you so much once again. cm

      • i have THERUVU NARTHAKI dvd ( asianet copy).. but i have not seen her in that film.. i dont know whether her portions had been edited or not. but in her debut movie NJAN PIRANNA NATTIL, saleema is a college girl and her name is revathi. her boy friend (jose) traps her, give her liquor mixed juice and takes her into his bedroom and shoots her blue film. as a result she becomes mental patient.

  2. Wow….Just saw Nakhashathangal…..I was just stunned to see the performance of Saleema in it…especially in the scene where she cries without any sound…such an actress with high skills should be remembered and also made known to the future generations…I’m gonna try to find out the whereabouts of this actress from now on…\m/

      • I am glad to see that this thread is still live. Oh Saleema, please tell us that you are keeping fine. You have given us such wonderful memories through Aranyakam and Nakhakshathangal which have not faded even after 25 years. I still hope one day she will appear here and Cinematters will let us know that she is doing excellently well in life. Saleemakku ella nanmakalum undaakatte.

  3. Please read the writeup in varadhyamadhyamam dt.18-8-13 sunday.You can find the story of Saleemas participation in my serial.You may get more phtographs if you click on photos of Kunhayammu maniparambil in Facebook. Thank u sir.

  4. Does any one remember that Saleema was the heroin in the first malayalam TV Serial Salsalath ? I was the hero…Myself also stopped acting due to some personal problems..Saleema was very cooperative with me.I wish to see her now.

    • Whoa ! What a surprise. Now that you have mentioned, I recall the name. Thank you so much Kunhayammu for writing in. Though her current status remains unknown ( atleast for me), glad to know that she too had left an indelible mark with her talent in you. Is there any keepsakes from the times you have worked together, any publicity shots, any video clippings, anything? Would appreciate if you could send it to oldmalayalamcinema@gmail.com. Would gladly have it published on your behalf here. Thanks so much again, cinematters

    • this itself is a great information. I had wondered in the background of celluloid being relased which would have been the ifrst malayalam television serial. never bothered searchign about it- thinking it will yeild no results. and not- straight from the hero – we get information. i second CMs suggestion of forwarding photographs/ stills from Salsalath

      • The copy of the 13 episode serial salsalath will be available in the old library of Door darsan kendra TVM. the serial was retelcasted,few years back.Myself participated in some more films and serials.Saleema told me about Aranyakam and I had told her good luck.Myself participated in a film called Vidaparayan mathram at that time..Our Directors Sri. P.K.Joseph and Sri Manoj Babu expired..The cd will be available at citadel videos Chennai.The name of the ex. producer is Sri.Gopalakrishnan ,.

  5. ah…atlast i could find her name..Saleema… all these years when I hear ay song from that movie it was her role and her face that come to my mind. When I was watchin the movie in Chennai Ega theatre I was wondering who this girl was and to my sruprise an elderly person sitting next to me asked me what her name was. It was obvious that he was stumped by her acting just like me..today I sw on Manoramaonline her face,tried to find the writeup but could not enter. then by searching through google I reached your site. well well I have no words to express…she was fantastic in that movie…to find that there are more guys out there who feels the same is great. In Vandanam I could not relate her to the girl in Nakhakshthangal… sad that her whereabout is not known..hope she is doing fine somehere.

    • Hi Pradeep,

      Thank you for writing in. Glad to know that there is a sizeable majority who still treasure her talent onscreen in a corner of their hearts. Sure do hope her current whereabouts would be made known some time. Regards, cinematters

      • in the net they say Girija the yesteryear Telugu heroine and comedienne had only one daughter by name Sriranga and she had acted as a child artiste in Meghasandesham, an A Nageswar Rao super hit movie. She could be our Saleema and why can’t you take up this thread to find her. Her father’s name and that he had, along with Girija a film production company is also mentioned there.

        • Hi Pradeep,
          The fact that she is Girija’s daughter is already updated in the post. The very purpose of everything shared in public domain is to enable anyone who reads it to be updated so that they could pursue the subject furthur in whatever path they deem fit. Why don’t you too channel your efforts based on the information you have just mentioned and share it here? Thanks, cinematters

  6. Can anybody give me a link to buy the VCD or DVD (whichever is available) of Aranyakam….i have searched a lot but couldnt find any..cinematters a little help plzzz….thnx

    • Hi Deepak,
      Aranyakam has NOT YET been released as a commercial copy either as VCD or DVD as far as I know. The videos floating around of teh song clips are by far ripped from TV broadcasts or private copies. Why not contact the uploader of the videos and check with them ? Thanks, cinematters

  7. I notice that those who write here are honest and they truly consider Saleema’s acti ng as superb. Yes, she was simply superb. I don’t remember how many times I watched Aranyakam and Nakhakshathangal.
    Aa some writers have suggested, the numerous TV channels who do lot of investigative journalism should try to locate Saleema. They spend lot of energy and money on unnecessary scandals. Why can’t they spare some effort on a worthy cause ? After all, Saleema immensely contributed to Malayalam cinema. I am sure, if she needs help then there will be a lot of her admirers to come forward.
    Suresh Menon

    • Hi Avinash,
      Thank you for writing in to the Old Malayalam Cinema Blog. There are about 6 movies mentioned in the article. Which one of them were you speaking about on the “remake part”? Thanks, cinematters

  8. -it is -a hided truth- that- The real ‘ urvashi award -is from the heart of the viewers-
    even after 25 years- even if -monisha died, vineeth-still plays- the great impact -that posted by saleema- by her silence in nagashathangal & her versatile pergformance in aranyakam- is ever memorable-

    I hope- if saleema return -with a powerfull character- it is surely a new dawn for malayalam cinema- the inbuilt/unknown intellectual acting-
    we pray for you- and we are still waiting for that day- you come back to malayalam film.
    Be happy -that -even after 25 years- you are highly remembered- not by your colour or beauty- but by ability.

    mrinalitha

    • Hi Pratap,
      Thank you for writing in. It must have been Saleema’s luck to have been a part of two pivotal movies in Malayalam, and it is her extraordinary talent that keeps those movies a subject of discussion after all these years. We sure do hope there would be a second coming, which would as spectacular or more than her first outing. Thanks, cinematters

  9. your article is good, there are many stars like ammini(saleema), who are not noticed.
    the below link : one of my favorite montage songs, from Nakhakshathangal,

    if you are really fond of saleema, i think the you will surely like Anjali devi – very old actress, majorly did films in telgu and also tamil,
    i dont know clearly but i see more similarities in both of these actess, their face orientation, although anjali devi was from a totally different era,,
    you must see this vedio ,from an old tamil film :

    • Hi Deepak,

      Thank you for writing in. And just for the record, my “fondness” for Saleema doesnot go beyond appreciating her talent :D Thank you for the Anjali Devi video clipping. Yes, she has an uncanny resemblance to Saleema,and I guess there was a brief discussion on this some time back in a web forum..regards, cinematters

  10. നഖക്ഷതങ്ങളിലെ ഊമയായ പെണ്‍കുട്ടിയെ ആരും മറക്കാനിടയില്ല. കഥാപാത്രത്തോട് അത്രമേല്‍ ചേര്‍ന്നു നില്ക്കുന്ന രൂപഭാവങ്ങളായിരുന്നു സലീമയുടേത്. പക്ഷേ എം.ടി ഹരിഹരന്‍ ടീം കൂട്ടുകെട്ടില്‍ ഇറങ്ങിയ നഖക്ഷതങ്ങളില്‍ വിനീതിന്റെ രണ്ട് നായികമാരില്‍ ഒരാളായിരുന്നു സലീമ. മോനിഷ ആദ്യചിത്രത്തിന് തന്നെ ദേശീയ അംഗീകാരവും മറ്റും നേടിയെടുത്ത് പ്രശസ്തിയിലേയ്ക്കുയര്‍ന്നപ്പോള്‍ സലീമയെ അധികം കാണാന്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞില്ല. കലവൂര്‍ രവികുമാറിന്റെ ഫാദേര്‍സ്‌ഡേ എന്ന ചിത്രത്തിന്റെ ലൊക്കേഷനില്‍ വച്ച് ആദ്യചിത്രത്തില്‍ ഒന്നിച്ചഭിനയിച്ച സലീമയെക്കുറിച്ച് നടന്‍ വിനീത് പറയുന്നു. എപ്പോഴും ഒരു ദുഃഖഛായ നിഴലിടുന്ന സലീമ സെന്റിമെന്റ്‌സ് സീനാണ് വരുന്നതെങ്കില്‍ വളരെ മുമ്പേ ഇമോഷണലാവുകയും തനിച്ചിരുന്ന് കരയുകയും ചെയ്യുമായിരുന്നുത. തനിയ്‌ക്കൊപ്പം അവരഭിനയിച്ച ചിത്രങ്ങളില്‍ ഇതായിരുന്നു തന്റെ അനുഭവമെന്നാണ് വിനീത് പറയുന്നത്. എന്നാല്‍ ഈ പ്രത്യേക സ്വഭാവത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് ഒരിക്കലും സലീമയോട് ചോദിച്ചിട്ടില്ലെന്നും വിനീത് പറയുന്നു. തമിഴിലെ ആദ്യകാല പ്രശസ്തനടിയുടെ മകളായ സലീമയ്ക്ക് മലയാളത്തില്‍ ഏറെ അവസരങ്ങളൊന്നും ലഭിച്ചില്ല. നഖക്ഷതങ്ങള്‍, ആരണ്യകം, വന്ദനം തുടങ്ങി നാലോ അഞ്ചോ ചിത്രങ്ങള്‍മാത്രമാണ് സലീമയുടേതായി മലയാളത്തിലുള്ളത്. പക്ഷേ മൂന്നുചിത്രത്തിലെ കഥാപാത്രവും മലയാളികള്‍ ഓര്‍ത്തുവെയ്ക്കുന്നതാണെന്നത് മറ്റൊരുകാര്യം. കാതല്‍ദേശത്തിന്റെ സെറ്റില്‍ സലീമ തന്നെ കാണാനെത്തിയിരുന്നുവെന്നും അപ്പോഴാണ് അമ്മ മരിച്ച വിവരം പറയുന്നതെന്നും വിനീത് പറയുന്നു. തമിഴ് സിനിമയില്‍ പ്രശസ്ത താരമാണെങ്കിലും സലീമയുടെ അമ്മയും വല്ലാതെ ഒതുക്കപ്പെട്ട നിലയിലായിരുന്നു. മകളെ സിനിമയിലേക്ക് അയക്കാന്‍ അവര്‍ക്ക് തീരെ താത്പര്യമില്ലാതിരുന്നിട്ടും മലയാളസിനിമയിലെ മഹാപ്രതിഭകളുടെ ചിത്രത്തിലൂടെ രംഗപ്രവേശം കിട്ടിയാല്‍ മകള്‍ അഭിനയം കൊണ്ട് രക്ഷപ്പെട്ടുപോകുമെന്ന് ആ അമ്മ കരുതിയിട്ടുണ്ടാവും. കാതല്‍ദേശത്തിലെ കാഴ്ചക്കുശേഷം സലീമയെ കണ്ടിട്ടുമില്ല അവരെപ്പറ്റി ഒന്നും കേട്ടിട്ടുമില്ല- വിനീത് പറയുന്നു. എന്തായാലും സലീമയെ നഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടതിലൂടെ നല്ലൊരു നടിയെയാണ് ചലച്ചിത്രലോകത്തിന് നഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടതെന്നതില്‍ തര്‍ക്കമില്ല. സിനിമയില്‍ നിലനില്‍ക്കുക എന്നത് എക്കാലത്തും വലിയ വെല്ലുവിളിയാണ്. അതിന് ആത്മാര്‍ത്ഥതയ്ക്കും കഴിവിനുമൊക്കെ അപ്പുറത്ത് ഭാഗ്യവും കൌശലവുമൊക്കെ ഒരു ഘടകമാണ്.

    • ഈ തട്ടകത്തില്‍ നിന്നും മാറിനില്‍ക്കാന്‍ സലീമയ്ക്ക് അവരുടെതായ കാരണങ്ങള്‍ തീര്‍ച്ചയായും കാണും. എന്നെങ്കിലും ഒരു ദിവസം ഏതെങ്കിലും ഒരു വാര്‍ത്താ മാധ്യമത്തില്‍ അവര്‍ പ്രത്യക്ഷപ്പെടുമെന്ന് നമുക്ക് ആശിക്കാം :) അതു വരെ, കാത്തിരിക്ക തന്നെ. നന്ദി Sreerag.
      - cinematters

  11. Let me know abt saleema now?she was a good and talaented actress in between 1989, last week also i saw the movie aranyakam, fantastic acting,

    • Hi Lijesh,
      Thank you for writing in. All of us would love to know that, wouldn’t we ? :) You could “Subscribe” to the Comment stream of this article to keep yourself updated on any new comments on the post. Maybe one of those would be the one that brings in the good news.:) Thanks.cinematters

  12. wow ! u know what .. one day i am going to find where she is ! Ammini ..omg omg omg ! her actings were mature and so natural .. !

  13. While I was typing her name I thought that I was searching in vain. I never expected to find such a well-written article about her. Now only I realized that she has acted in Vandanam also. I wonder why she didn’t get any good roles after Aranyakam. I think we should search for on FB :D.. Waiting for more updates about her.

    • Thank you for writing in Geethu. You are very kind. Anyone who had watched Aaranyakam would never forget the protagonist of the movie ever. This is my way of showing my love :) And we do hope she turns up somewhere, after all, its a small world, isn’t it ? Thanks, cinematters

  14. I have just watched Aranyakam and cant forget her lovely face.Maybe she just decided to stop acting, malayalam cinema was`nt really kind to her, was it……

    • Hi Achu,
      Thank you for writing in. The Malayalam film industry is like any other, where businesses expects their investments to return profits. So I guess the question of Malayalam cinema being unkind to her doesn’t really explain anything. Its a job, and as a professional actor you do your best. At times, vested interests, to promote their own and protect their own turf may act in a manner that might deny one more opportunities to grow. It happens with any profession.Thanks.cinematters

  15. so after all what do u thing abt her??

    wr is she now??
    y v cant findout her. there r so many tv channels. let sombdy take initiative to findout the great actress”saleema”

    • Hi Jimson,
      About where she is now, your guess is as good as mine.And instead of waiting for somebdy to take initiative, why not start off yourself, on your own terms?Maybe that could help us get to the “answer” sooner. Thanks.cinematters

  16. Just checked this page again and happy to read update about Saleema. I meant the interview snippet with Vineeth. I wonder if director Hariharan himself might have any more recent info about Saleema, We may never know unless the question about her is directly asked to him which is not very likely. I really really wish to hear about her whereabouts. It is strange mainstream malayalam lost track of her especially in this age of cable channels and youtube. Somoebody somewhere should have tried to interview her for a program at least like Innalathe Thaaram. The fact that it has not happened makes me think something very bad must’ve happened to Saleema..I hope and pray she is alive and healthy. I would actually be pleased to hear she is happily married and settled in USA or Canada with three kids and husband :) Like so many of our other yesteryears actresses.

    One last wish: What if Saleema herself sees this page and posts here with a sweet note that she is doing just fine? After all, this page comes up first if you search for her name on Google (that is search by spelling her name correctly).

    So dear Saleema, please search for yourself on internet and please tell us you are doing just about okay.

    Benjamin

    • Awww, Benjamin, that is so sweet :) It is really hoped that she does that and updates us first-hand. THAT would be wonderful.Thank you so much for writing in.Regards..cinematters.

  17. Wow…Can’t believe this. Have been searching for some info, any info on Saleema, who many say, looks like me! That apart, Ammini is the first heroine I adored and identified with and still remains a favourite. She is sooooooo the teenager I fantacised and aspired to grow into, with her sojourns into the forests and scribblings on note books, and close encounters with birds and insects. Plus a beautiful, intense, yet silent romance! deadly combo. Am glad I am still passionate about such a personality after all these years! Thank you very much for this fantabulous post, relished every word in it!

  18. Thanks for the treat. I think I first watched Aranyakam on tv in ‘98 and found a lot of similarities in her. Especially a childhood and adolescence spent in solitude. The lines MT pressed thru Devan and Saleema were intense and stirring I found myself in tears in the end. If ever I loved anyone in life I should say I loved Saleema. Guess that is the ultimate success of the persons behind the movie. Even much later when internet was not so accessible as it is now͵ I used to wonder what happened to her͵ is she even alive. To portray such a character shouldnt she have some elements of that at least͵ in herself? If ever I marry it should be a girl like her. So the thoughts went. But alas͵ that phase of life went away leaving just some remembrances. Now I dont want to know more about her͵ as the changes time wreaks in all of us could have made her much worse͵ and such knowledge will only cause us pain. So let us in this make believe world͵ at least have the solace the innocence shown by that

    • Dear Hari,
      That was pretty intense. One is amazed by the way this artform touches people’s lives, specially during our impressionable years. Maybe it was for the best that she did a handful of movies, most of which are memorable and then disappeared off the radar. Atleast, that vignette stays untouched in our cookie jar in the head :).Whether one would be able to know how she is now would invariably bank on hope and chance, and we will leave it to that. Thank you for that warm note..regards.cinematters

  19. it is so sad that malayalam movie industry has not recognised this so beautiful and talented actress. according to me saleema was one of the best actress during that period.We can make a request to Director Hariharan sir to consider her for a suitable role in his forthcoming movie. No doubt …this would a gift to malayalam film goers .Hope we will be fortunate enough to see her presence in malayalam industry again and waiting for that happy news soon.

  20. Saleema was one of the most talented actresses. I have been searching for two years to know any news about her. Perhaps, Vineet was the last one to have said anything about her. It is really sad that Malayalam industry ignored her and forgot her. Nakhakshathangal and Aaranyakam were more than enough to show her talent in acting. If I ever see her I would take off my hat and tell her, “God bless you, Saleema”.

  21. Saleema had – Class! Something only a handful of Malayalam actresses ( Female actor :-/ ) had/have. Best wishes to her and to you too . Hope one day I will read about her in this column.

    Enjoyed your posts and comments.

    • Thank you Balachanderji.If only Saleema had more worthwhile characters for the screen and had the inclination to furthur her career in acting. If only.Will surely keep these columns updated on any new developments of her reviving her career if it comes this way. Thanks again.cinematters

    • Dear Kiran,
      It guess these are a bunch of questions most are seeking answers to, and the purpose of writing about her is exactly that, to encourage sharing more information. Will have it updated on anything as and when it comes around, regarding her.Thanks..cinematters

  22. After seeing the picture in TV I am verymuch interested in purachasing the the dvd of the film “arnayakam”. The role of “salemma” is inspiring and the songs are melodious . Kindly inform me from where can I purchase the same.An early reponse shall highly be apprieciated.
    Best Regards

    • Hi Sushama,
      I am not aware of a commercial release of the movie yet in the market though there are endless reruns of the movie on TV. I have captured some of the most popular online and offline vendors addresses here. You could keep a track of the release through them..thanks..cinematters

    • Hi Melquiades,
      That seems to be the majority’s opinion. She was picture -perfect for that role. Sad that we never got to see more of her.Thank you for writing in..regards..cinematters.

      PS: Has this Melquiades got anything to with the mythical, legendary “cousin” from One Hundred Years of Solitude ? :)

      • Hi,
        actually i am a 17 year old b.tech student and loves silent-classical movies.my friend told me to watch ‘aranyakam’..last day i saw the movie first time..i like the protagonist ‘ammini’..and found some similarities b/w her and my character.

        • That is so great. Always glad to meet a fellow cinephile :) With Aranyakam, Mt seems to recycled the same theme in Ennu Swantham Janakikuttiyyku also. and if you observe carefully, even Saleema’s character in Nakhakshathangal was a rework of the same personality traits. Hope to see more of you in these parts.regards, cinematters.

  23. From my remotest thought, I could remember Saleema has acted in one more Malayalam movie apart from the 4 listed before. The movie name is ‘Niramulla Ravukal’. This was rated A. She acted as a teen call girl in it and gets killed by her father (played by actor Johny). Thats all I could recall.

    • Dear Deepak,
      Niramulla Raavukal is news to me :) Just checked around and a copy is available in the market !Have ordered it and will update the post soon. Thank you so much..regards..cinematters

      • Market copy of niramulla raavukal is not clear and almost 45 minutes less than its original asianet version.. anyway, NIRMULLA RAAVUKAL is a movie to be forgotten..

        • Gopalji,
          The whole point of getting myself a copy of the movie is for archival purposes only. The importance of a two-bit soft-porn B-grade flick in my movie archives is way way way below the basic watermark. :0 The very fact that Saleema was a part of it is the only reason. Nothing more.Nothing less. Now that you have mentioned, my only worry is whether her part would have been chopped off ..thanks..cm

        • Dear Sibi,
          That’s just the tip of the iceberg ( no pun intended ).The movie looks like a the 20-20 equivalent for soft-porn with an endless stream of faces walking in and out of the frame, some with clothes, most with hardly anything worth mentioning. Even Suresh Gopi has a role..:D..cm

    • Dear Deepak,
      Just recved the copy of the movie. Took all of 4 minutes to run through and locate her scene, exit the media player, and keep it back in storage. :) Have updated the info. Thanks ..cinematters

    • Lijesh,
      Trust you have gone through the post AND the comments carefully. I presume her whereabouts as of now, (atleast for yours truly, and the ones who have responded so graciously to the article) is unknown. Why not make an effort and try to get more details? And could we speak in normal tones, please? Uppercase letters usually gives an impression of screaming at someone.. Thanks..cinematters

  24. Great article.Was eager to know more about Saleema as she is a great actress.The National award should have gone to her and not Monisha.

    • Hi Ritu,
      A sentiment that has not still lost its merit for a lot of Malayalis :) Glad that the post helped add a wee bit to stuff you already knew. Thanks so much for writing in.regards..cinematters

  25. Movies I have seen 50 times or more 0)
    1969 റസ്റ്റ്‌ ഹൌസ് – 55
    1975 പിക്നിക്‌ -70
    1986 എന്നെന്നും കണ്ണേട്ടന്റെ -75
    1983 അപ്പുണ്ണി -60
    1984 കളിയില്‍ അല്പം കാര്യം – 60

    • Dear Sibi,
      എന്നെന്നും കണ്ണേട്ടന്റെ -75 ??? Gulp. Gulp again. Whatever made you watch that 75 times, I’m sure I will never be able to nail it :D. Appunni is a classic, for me. Well, then again, I shouldn’t question the logic behind this, as yours truly must be the one who must have watched AB’s Shahenshah the maximum number of times on planet Earth ( or so I firmly believe ) :) along with an equally rabid AB fan of a Dad alongside.. Sigh…regards..cinematters

      • Hmm..Kannetan was a different love story of that time….this was when Rahman was the chocolate boy dancing and singing with heroines and effortlessly wooing girls on screen. Our hero like in a real life setting of those days finds it hard to convey his liking for his girl for a long time or even get an opportunity to talk to her. I also liked the background music and the ending where he falls of the train and goes home without seeing her as opposed to heroes of that time who normally would cling on to the back of the train and see the heroine after the train leaves.
        The setting of vacation family gettogether at the village with grandparents..which was part of my growing up. We kids 8-12 of us used to get together at grandpa’s and spent vacation in a very rural setting. The Arts club, practice for festival, mother son bonding, “alavathi friend”, BSA cycle…all that so much like me..I could easily see me in that movie..Unfortunatley for me I had no murappenu then…;)

        Wonder what happened to the hero Sangeeth and Heroine Sonia.? Any idea?

  26. Great to see this write-up. I remember Saleema very well from Nakhakshathangal and Aranyakam, but never knew she acted in any other film. Curiously, I always thought Saleema was a Moslem, but good to know the tidbit her mother’s name is Girija :) Her name always gets butchered in any reference to her in online reviews, remembrances etc..Her lying in bed and crying scene was absolutely stunning in Nakhakshathangal.

    I get the impression that Saleema was a find of Hariharan (whereas Monisha and Vineeth came from the MT finder-scope). I too would like to know why we hear so little about Saleema now.

    Thanks, Ben

    • Dear Ben,
      Glad that it brought on some memories. What you said about the butchery is absolutely true, which was the main reason I did that clarification right off when I began. Nakhakshathangal, will always be, ‘her’ movie, I believe. Will surely keep you posted on the updated. You could always keep a reminder with that subscribe option at the foot of the comment box..Thanks ..regards..cinematters

  27. Yes Girija is Saleema’s Mother and She is No more now. I heard that her makes lot of disturbance in shooting locations.

    • Hi,
      It feels a little weird “speaking to a TV Reality show”, am sure you are human behind that moniker, ain’t you? :)Regarding tantrums thrown by artists on shooting sets, haven’t we heard worse, specially from the starlet-mommy brigade? I feel the answers lie somewhere else. Also, any idea where she is currently and whether she is active in her profession? Thanks for writing in..cinematters

  28. Excellent Piece of Article…always wanted to know abt this lady, never knew she acted in other movies as well other than Nakhakshathangal….Waiting for updates :)

    • Dear Paddy,
      Glad that it doused a part of your curiosity :) Will surely keep you up to speed as and when I get any updates..Thanks for writing in..regards..cinematters

  29. I was thinking that I was the only one who thought she was the ‘better’ one in Nakhakshathangal :)
    Never knew she acted in other malayalam movies. Couldnt id her in Vandanam.

    Check last edition of Vanitha, Sep 15-30, which has an interview with Vineeth. There is a qn on Saleema. Let me know if you dont get. I will scan it

    Good topic BTW. Expecting one on Kirti Singh :D

    • Dear Rajesh,
      You never know. You never know :) Let me check whether a copy of the magazine is still avbl with our neighborhood newstand guy. And I know Keerti Singh holds a special place too :D.. Surely. Will do. Regards..cinematters

  30. I thought Saleema was the best thing in Nakhakshathangal – other than the story / script and music, of course.Monisha Unni was really undeserving of the National Award that year.

    • Hi Anu,
      You aren’t alone with your thoughts on that :) But then, surely, the Award Committee must have had its own reasons to give it to her. [ Disclaimer .. I love both the actors :) ]. Nakhakshathangal was truly a movie, as you said, when all the movie elements came in the perfect proportions..Regards..cinematters

    • Anyone could have done Monishas rule .. it wasnt challenging ! but saleema’s was very different .. and yeah she deserved an award ! and i guess there was pressures since monisha’s mom was a famous dancer and more influential !

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