Mani Ratnam asked ‘who is Manikuttan?’ after Navarasa trailer was flooded with mentions of Bigg Boss Malayalam 3 winner

A clear sign of Bigg Boss Malayalam 3 winner Manikuttan's growing popularity came following the release of the trailer of Netflix's star-studded anthology drama Navarasa. The trailer was flooded with several mentions of Manikuttan, who makes a blink-and-miss appearance in the video.

Actor Manikuttan’s tryst with Bigg Boss Malayalam was a long time in the making. Manikuttan recently revealed that he received invites to be part of the first and second seasons of Bigg Boss Malayalam. His film shoots, however, kept him from taking on the opportunity. “When I was offered the chance the third time, I accepted it as I was also cash-strapped due to lack of opportunities during the lockdown,” he told indianexpress.com.

Manikuttan claims that he had nurtured no such dreams of winning the show when he agreed to the offer. All he wanted was to stay in the house as long as he could and put on a good show, which he hoped would translate into acting jobs when he gets out of the show. “I realised that tasks on the Bigg Boss show were great opportunities for me to showcase my skills, and I gave them a lot of importance,” he added.

Manikuttan has long nurtured the dream of making it big as a film actor. And he has been using every opportunity that he could land to further his ambition in movies.

“Movies will always remain my first desire. Be it performing on stage shows, or playing in CCL, they were just various routes that took me closer to my dreams. I wanted to give my best performance in all things I did to ensure I get noticed, which I believed would help me get good roles in movies,” Manikuttan said.

And he believes his diverse body of work and hard work of the last 15 years helped him land the entry ticket to popular reality TV show Bigg Boss Malayalam, which he considers “the biggest journey” of his life. “From taking dance lessons to sweating it out at the gym to learning martial arts, everything I do is for cinema. I earn from acting in movies and I reinvest my earnings to upgrade my skills for cinema. That’s how I stay motivated,” he said.

Bigg Boss Malayalam was no different. He wanted to extract maximum benefit from the show by raising his popularity. He was so good at the tasks that he was given a special award called “Entertainer of the Season” during the grand finale. His performance on the show also helped him gain a lot of following among viewers as it was visible in his victory margin. In the final count, he had garnered over 9 crore votes, beating Sai Vishnu to become the winner by a margin of over 3 crore votes.

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A clear sign of his growing popularity came following the release of the trailer of Netflix’s star-studded anthology drama, Navarasa. The trailer was flooded with several mentions of Manikuttan, who makes a blink-and-miss appearance in the video.

Manikuttan has played a supporting role in the segment called Summer of ’92, which is directed by Priyadarshan. The short film segment marks his fourth collaboration with Priyadarshan. “The love and appreciation that I received from people was nothing short of a prestigious award for me. I was overjoyed. It created such an impact that I got a call from Priyadarshan sir who appreciated me. And he also told me that Mani Ratnam sir asked him, ‘who is Manikuttan?’.”

After winning the season, Manikuttan went home with a key to an apartment worth Rs 75 lakh along with the winner’s trophy. But, for Manikuttan, the highlight of the evening was something else. He said, “When I was declared the winner of the season, Lalettan hugged me and said, ‘I’m so proud of you, mone.’ It was a moment of great pride for me. I dedicate this victory to Mohanlal.”

Mohanlal’s appreciation and gesture made Manikuttan’s victory sweeter as he is a die-hard fan of Lalettan. “So much so that I joined MG College because it was where Mohanlal had studied. I used to read all the interviews of Mohanlal, and I took inspiration from his hard work and struggles. After I became an actor and got to work with Mohanlal, I had the opportunity to understand his methods first-hand. I was fortunate enough to work with him on stage shows, in movies and on the cricket field,” Manikuttan concluded.

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