Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty has signed her first Malayalam film.
Directed by Joemon, the film, which is as yet untitled, will also star Suresh Gopi, who has not done films for quite a few months.
Andhra Pradesh remakes the largest number of films in Telugu. Interestingly, the state which benefits most from this is Kerala.
Malayalam films are being lapped up by big banners in Andhra Pradesh and remade in Telugu. According to trade pundits, as many as 25 Malayalam films have been picked up already.
"Successful Malayalam films have 'remake suitors' in Telugu," says K Rajeev Varma, a film critic in Kerala. "It is big business for the Andhra producers and Kerala producers."
It is almost as if the Telugu film industry has "lost its creativity to produce good films of its own culture and genre", says Varma.
The tendency to remake Malayalam films into Telugu began four years with leading Kerala director Kamal's blockbuster, Niram. Remade as Nuvve Kaavali in Telugu, it became a sensational hit across Andhra Pradesh. (Incidentally, this film was remade in Hindi also, the successful Tujhe Meri Kasam).
Ever since Nuvve Kaavali's huge success, there has been a rush to acquire the rights of most Malayalam films, even before their release.
Malayalam industry sources said that of the six films released last week, five have already been purchased by Telugu producers and even actors. Recently, Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi bought the remake rights of the latest Mohanlal starrer Mr Brahmachari.
Film directors and producers from Tamil Nadu have also plunged into the business. Hit Malayalam films like Friends, Oomapenninu Uriyadapayyan, and Thenkasipattanam have already been remade into Tamil.
Malayalam superstars Mohanlal and Jayaram have adopted a new success strategy. Since their films have not fared well at the box office for the last two years, they have been promoting their school-going sons.
Mohanlal's son Pranav -- who studies in an Ooty school -- has already acted in two Malayalam films, Onnaman and Punarjani. His acting has been described as brilliant.
Jayaram's son Kalidasan performed well in the latest Sibi Malayil film, Ente Veedu, Appunteyum. It is Kalidasan's second film, after Sathyan Anthikad's Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal, two years back.