The average shelf life for a heroine in Indian cinema is rather short and there was a time when marriage used to put an end to a woman actor's career, especially if she were playing lead roles. However, Bollywood has changed with the times and stars like Aishwarya Rai and Kareena Kapoor have bounced back from what used to be considered professional suicide a decade ago.
In the southern industries, it's still the norm to quit acting once a heroine decides to tie the knot. This is slowly changing - Samantha, for instance, has made it clear that marriage with Naga Chaitanya will not spell the end of her career and Amala Paul has continued to sign films through her brief marriage and divorce.
With actors like Manju Warrier and Jyotika making a comeback to cinema and refusing to be typecast in the usual mother or older sister role, it's clear that we're moving to an age when it will become possible for female actors to separate their personal life from their professional image.
Malayalam cinema has lost out on quite a few talented woman actors in the past because of the stigma attached to working in the entertainment industry and the belief that a "family" life is impossible for a woman to balance with such a demanding career.
Here are five women from Malayalam cinema we wish would make a comeback:
Parvathy made her debut in 1986 and acted in films till the time of her marriage with fellow actor Jayaram. A talented actor, Parvathy is still remembered for her expressive eyes and ability to emote without turning the scene melodramatic. Her contemporary Urvashi played a wide range of roles from the comic to the glamorous but Parvathy was mostly typecast in angelic characters. Nevertheless, the actor delivered several memorable performances - Vadakku Noki Yendhram, Kireedam, Aparan, Amrutham Gamaya and many others.
Like Parvathy, Samyuktha also quit films after marrying a colleague from the industry, Biju Menon. Though she acted for only three years, Samyuktha is well known for her portrayal in films like Mazha, Madhuranombarakaatu and Veendu
Navya came into the industry when she was still a school student. A trained classical dancer, she acted in a series of films mainly of the romcom genre. However, she's best remembered for her performances in Saira and Kanne Madanguka - both of them tragic and moving films. Navya quit acting after she got married to a Mumbai-based businessman but has since come back to the limelight through reality TV shows. She's yet to get back to the big screen.
Samvrutha made her debut as heroine in 2004 opposite Dileep. The actor went on to do a slew of films and also worked in the Tamil and Telugu industries. With her large eyes and luscious hair, Samvrutha was a favourite with the Malayali audience. She acted in lead roles as well as strong supporting characters. She's best remembered for films like Moonamathoral, Minnaminikootam and Thirakatha
The darling of audiences in Kerala and Tamil Nadu alike, many hearts were broken when Nazriya married fellow actor Fahadh Faasil and decided to call it quits when she was at the top of her career. Nazriya has been under the arc lights since childhood and made her debut as heroine in 2013. Though she has acted only in a handful of films in her brief film career of 2 years, Nazriya is still remembered for her natural performances in films like Neram, Bangalore Days and Om Shanti Oshana. In a recent interview, Fahadh had said that he has never stopped Nazriya from acting and that they've decided that he will take the backseat when she decides to make a comeback.