I was keenly listening to his words: Nikhila Vimal on her viral photo with Mammootty

Young actress Nikhila Vimal has been in the news lately for a picture in which she is seen gazing intently at mega star Mammootty. The picture was clicked at a press meet at Dubai in which the cast and crew of The Priest had attended. Nikhila was clicked looking intensely at Mammootty when the latter was speaking at the press meet.

Soon the picture became viral on the social media and she found herself in many online trolls as well. Nikhila Vimal, however, says she wasn’t blinded by admiration or adulation but was keenly listening to each word spoken by the screen icon. Nikhila feels she might have looked like she is gazing at Mammootty as the picture was taken at that exact moment when she turned to look at him. The actress revealed Mammootty wasn’t cast in The Priest when the story was narrated to her. But she is happy and thrilled that she got a chance to act alongside one of the finest actors.

Mammootty fan

Nikhila’s father was a loyal fan of Mammootty and was eagerly waiting to watch The Priest on the big screen. He used to ask about the movie even when he was ill and bedridden. He had wished to watch the movie in the theaters. Unfortunately, Nikhila’s father bid adieu to this world, unable to fulfill this wish. “I believe that my father would be happy watching the grand success of The Priest. I personally am joyous that the movie is doing well. It was great experience acting alongside Mammookka,” says Nikhila.

Acting with a super star

Though she has shared screen space with many prominent actors, it was for the first time that Nikhila had acted in a movie which starred a super star in the lead role. For her, it was an amazing opportunity to learn many things. “Instructing someone how to act or learning it in a class room doesn’t really matter. It was a chance to watch him act on the sets and could learn from it,” notes the actress.

“Personally, I was very calm while working with Mammookka. He keeps inspiring and encouraging his fellow actors. Apart from Mammootty and Manju Warrier, the rest of the actors weren’t as experienced. He encouraged everyone including child artist Monica who essayed a pivotal role in the movie. Though he could have acted his parts first and left the sets early, he patiently waited until the rest of us did well. I consider all these as valuable lessons that I have learned in my acting career,” explains Nikhila.

Tamil and Malayalam industries

Nikhila says she doesn’t find acting in Tamil and Malayalam industries any different. Except the language and the commercial aspects of film making, Nikhila really doesn’t think there is anything significantly different in both the industries. “Some movies may be commercially successful while some others might give us personal satisfaction. This is the same in all industries including Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu.

In Malayalam, big actors would usually support the smaller movies. However, in other languages, smaller movies have their own unique identities. For instance, I and baby Monica had significant roles in The Priest only because of Mammootty and Manju Warrier. They need not act in a movie in which smaller actors like us essay main roles. But they were ready to do that and the movie grabbed limelight for that reason. There is no doubt that the movie which began as a small film suddenly became huge with the presence of actors like Mammootty and Manju Warrier. Despite the pandemic restrictions, the audience is queuing up in front of the theaters only to watch them,” observes Nikhila.


Nikhila says she has heard that many big stars are ready to compromise on their remuneration for the sake of many movies. Though she isn’t sure whether the actors have done that in this movie, Nikhila has no doubt that producer Anto Joseph could release this movie in the theaters only with the wholehearted support of the stars in the film. “You cannot predict whether a movie becomes successful when you hear the story. You can only determine the fate of a movie only after it gets released,” says Nikhila.

No a star

“Actors like me would grab the lime light only during the success parties or events of a movie. The star value of an actor is determined by the fate of the movies that are released after a successful one. You can only asses that by observing the career of an actor for two or three years. When I look back, I only want to be known as a good actress. There is no point whether you have made an exorbitant amount of money or have become a super star,” notes the actress.

Nikhila will be next seen in Madhuram which is produced by actor Joju George and veteran director Sibi Malayil’s Kuthu.

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