Actress Mary selling lottery tickets | Photo: Mathrubhumi
“Sir, he is short, dark, and resembles a baboon. Doesn’t look good at all...” Mary, a native of Eramalloor, who shot to fame with this famous dialogue from the film ‘Action Hero Biju’, landed thirty other movies thanks to that one scene. The audience laughed heartily at Mary’s humour.
However, things changed dramatically ever since the pandemic. Her income dropped due to the fall in film opportunities. Her tiny house on a four-cent land is also under the threat of confiscation. Mary, who persisted through the odds, is now selling lottery tickets and fish for a living.
From ‘Laksham Veedu’ colony to Mollywood
Mary is currently residing in a house at Korambath Laksham Veedu colony in Eramalloor. Two families used to live there separated by a wall. Such houses were converted to single dwellings later. She had received a government grant of Rs. 75,000, but it was of little use.
Mary’s husband had left her earlier, and she is now supported by her son Benoy, a painting labourer. His income is insufficient to support the family. Mary’s daughter Besy is married.
Even though life has not been kind to her, Mary manages to keep a smiling face while selling lotteries. She often talks to people about her love for cinema. One such conversation with her distant relative, Leelamma, gave Mary her debut role as a junior artist in the film ‘Nadodimannan.’
All alone now
Mary’s scene in ‘Action Hero Biju’ was trendy because of her chemistry with her co-actor Baby.
Baby is a native of Kanjikuzhi in Cherthala. Their combination scenes caused laughter in theatres. The Baby-Mary duo has been a hit in many movies, including ‘Pippin Chuvattile Pranayam.’
Mary is currently playing a character in a movie titled ‘Bhavana’, while ‘Jameelante Poovan Kozhi’, ‘Liquor island', and ‘Begum’ are the upcoming releases.
Nivin Pauly’s laughter and retakes
Mary bagged her role in “Action hero Biju” after an audition. Director Abrid Shine nodded yes as soon as he heard her speak. Mary won applause with her natural dialect, even with her little screen presence.
Even while shooting the film, everyone used to laugh during Mary’s sequence. Nivin Pauly would burst out laughing as soon as Mary began to speak, resulting in several retakes.
Mary recounts that the director had to intervene for Nivin to control his laughter and continue the shoot. Nivin had visited Mary’s house after the shooting. She acted with him again in the film “Sakhavu.”
Films need to pay more
In “Action Hero Biju,” Mary was paid Rs 5,000 daily as remuneration. After the movie became a hit, she got many opportunities and they even started sending cars for Mary to reach the shooting spot. Her income shot up to Rs 15,000 per day.
However, the actor’s world has turned upside down ever since Covid-19 struck. Her remuneration has dropped to Rs 5,000 per day and has to catch a bus to shooting locations nowadays.