A career in the film industry can be short lived or long lived. Many in the industry are careful not to put all the eggs in the same basket and over the years actors and film makers from Kerala have diversified into other business interests.
Mohanlal was one of first in the Malayalam film industry or Mollywood to invest in other business interests. Also one of the first to step into the food business, the actor started a restaurant in Dubai and also invested in a curry masala, spices, condiments and pickles brand in 2004. A large stake in the brand called ‘Mohanlal’s Taste Buds’ was sold to Eastern group in 2007.
The company in a short while had established itself in Middle Eastern countries.
Later, he became one of the two owners of a four star hotel in Kochi called Travancore Court. Mohanlal is also a partner in Aashirvad Cineplex, a multiplex theatre complex in Thodupuzha and Perumbavoor.
Aashiq Abu, the director of well known movies like ‘Salt and pepper’ and ’22 Female Kottayam’, is also owned of ‘Café Papaya’.
The cafe, located in Kochi’s Palarivattom is co-owned by Aashiq Abu and friends, and was started in 2013. Live music, theatre performances, multi-cuisine and a well-stocked library has made it quite popular in the city.
Actor Rima (Aashiq Abu’s spouse) is a well-trained dancer and runs a dance school called ‘Mamangam’ with her friends. The school, adjacent to Café Papaya was started in 2014.
Mamangam is a dance school which strongly believes that to fly high one will have to take flight from strong roots, says the school’s FB page.
Actor Dileep in a chef’s clothes with a plate of steaming puttu (a kind of traditional breakfast dish) welcomes people at ‘Dhe Puttu’, a busy restaurant in the heart of Kochi.
The restaurant started by Dileep with his friend and actor Nadirsha serves various varieties of puttu stuffed with vegetables, chicken, mutton, prawns and eggs. The biriyani flavor puttus are a favorite with customers.
Dileep also owns another restaurant called ‘Mango tree’ in Fort Kochi. The house where the restaurant is located was once the ancestral house of legendary singer Yesudas. A mango tree planted by Yesudas’s mother is one of the main attractions of the restaurant.
Not just the food business, Dileep has also extended his business interest to theatres. In 2014, he opened a multiplex theatre complex called ‘D Cinemas’ in Chalakudy of Thrissur.
Mallika Sukumaran, Indrajith and Prithviraj
Malayalam actor Mallika Sukumaran, and her sons Indrajith and Prithviraj (both actors) together own a multi-cuisine restaurant in Doha. The restaurant called ‘Qatar Spice Boat’ was launched in 2013.
Mallika, a resident of Qatar, is the CEO of the restaurant.
One of the most sought after actors of south India, launched a Yoga centre in Kochi named MR Yoga studio. The centre that was launched in March 2017 offers aerobics, scuba and dance training sessions along with yoga.
The actor, who has portrayed a 20 year old girl and even a 70 year old woman on screen, runs a slimming center. Lena’s ‘Aakruti’ based in Kozhikode was launched in 2015, and incorporates various slimming techniques.
Poornima’s boutique ‘Pranaah’ located in Kochi is one of the most sought after celebrity boutiques in Kerala. Her clients include some of the biggest names of south Indian cinema like Amala Paul, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nazriya Nazim and Priyamani. Poornima, also an actor, had told TNM, "It has been a little easy for me to get accepted. But on the other hand, it also gets tougher in a different way. People expect more from you. I have been questioned and crucified. But mostly they get the best out of me," she says.
The popular actor launched an online boutique named Lakshyah in 2015. The online store has a good following of clients. Kavya herself models the boutiques creations.
Siddique’s Mamma Mia
Siddique, a popular supporting role actor in Malayalam, owns Mamma Mia. The restaurant launched in 2013 is known for its local delicacies. Located in Sea Port, Airport road in Kochi, it is close to the city’s tech park, Infopark. Mamma Mia is also known for its jack fruit based dishes.
Asif Ali’s Waffle Street
Waffle Street, a food outlet was inaugurated by Prithviraj in 2014. Co-owned by actor Asif Ali and friends, the outlet situated in Kochi’s Panampalli Nagar mainly serves waffles, donuts and crepes.
Poornima’s and Anand’s Zenzerro
Zenzerro restaurant in Thiruvananthapuram owned by actors Poornima and Anand was started in 2013.
‘Zenzerro, means ginger in Italian, had got more than 150 items from various cuisines such as Indian, Italian, Chinese, and Thai on its menu’, says the restaurant’s description.