In 2009, acclaimed director Shyamaprasad gave us three debutants in his coming of age drama, Rithu - Nishan Nanaiah, Rima Kallingal and Asif Ali - each went on to have an interesting career graph. Among the trio, Asif Ali and Rima had more successful innings in Mollywood, both doing well as Malayalam Cinema's young breed of superstars. Asif Ali's career may have seen its up and downs, but the actor has done quite good now, adjusting easily into the recent progressiveness of Mollywood. These 10 Movies of Mammootty, Fahadh Faasil, Asif Ali, Parvathy Had Won Our Hearts in 2019.
Is Asif a brilliant actor? TBH, he isn't as fabulous in histrionics as a resurgent Fahadh Faasil. But he is someone not unwilling to experiment, take on diverse roles and give some really good performances when he fits in well with the character. And he does not seem to care if it is a solo starrer or a multi-starrer (Bachelor Party, Double Barrell, Virus being prime examples of the latter).
As Asif Ali turns 35, we look at 10 of his best roles of his career. You are free to add your favourite in the comments section below.
Sunny Immatty in Rithu
Asif Ali in Rithu
How can we not discuss Asif Ali's best roles without even referring to his debut movie? In Shyamaprasad's take on friendship outgrowing nostalgia, Asif Ali scores good as the manipulative gay techie, who won't think twice before betraying his friends to gain a promotion. The innocence he brings while singing "Ku... Ku... Ku.... Theevandi" contrasts malevolently with the revelation of his cunningness in the preceding scene.
Manu Raghav in Salt N' Pepper
Asif Ali in Salt N' Pepper
Aashiq Abu's delightful romcom not only enthralls us with its flavours of food-making, but also in its performances. Asif Ali as Lal's flirty nephew is both adorable and hilarious, especially in his attempts to woo Mythili's character and then get harassed by a former pompous old friend.
Sharath in Ozhimuri
Asif Ali and Bhavana in Ozhimuri
While Lal, Mallika and Shweta Menon excel in this hard-hitting drama on patriarchal (and matriarchal) politics in Nair household, Asif Ali also holds his own as the son who wants to stand by his long-suffering mother, but fears that he might have inherited his temperamental father's anger issues. Before The Great Indian Kitchen, 7 Recent Malayalam Movies That Boldly Smashed Patriarchy, Misogyny and Sexism.
Sebastian in Honeybee
Bhavana and Asif Ali in Honeybee
Honeybee is an irreverent, black comic thriller that stands out with its quirky chase thriller premise and a wonderful set of actors. At the centre of it all is the wacky romance between Asif Ali and Bhavana's character. Asif Ali is quite good as the confused youngster whose one drunken confession leads to near-murderous chase for himself and his friends.
Louis in Kohinoor
Asif Ali in Kohinoor
Kohinoor is Asif's debut production, a comic heist-thriller set in the '80s, with the actor taking on the lead role. Kohinoor has him in a very charming role of a conman in love. Also has the beautiful "Hemanthamen" song for the romantics.
Abhilash in Anuraga Karikkin Vellam
Asif Ali in Anuraga Karikkin Vellam
Asif Ali can do the confused youth archetype really well, a facet that was well-utilised in Khalid Rahman's sweet coming-of-age drama. Neither committed to his job or relationship, his character is irksome and yet so relatable and natural, though it is the feisty Rajisha Vijayan who often steals the show.
Amal in Sunday Holiday
Asif Ali in Sunday Holiday
Sunday Holiday is a lovely romcom with some good surprises, enhanced by the fantastic chemistry between Asif and Aparna Balamurali. Asif's Amal is far more sympathetic, a youngster trying to come in terms of his longtime girlfriend's betrayal and then having developed feelings for a fellow saleswoman.
Nuhukkannu in Kaattu
Asif Ali in Kaattu
One of Asif Ali's underrated films, Arun Kumar Arvind's Kaattu is based on a short story by the late Padmarajan. Asif plays a simpleton who becomes a devoted admirer to Murali Gopy's alpha male, the former's innocence forming an interesting contrast to the latter's sexual bravado that becomes a pain for the village leading to tragic consequences.
Govind in Uyare
Parvathy and Asif Ali in Uyare
Right from his debut, Asif Ali has been not averse to doing grey roles. But it is his role in this inspiring underdog saga that makes us despise his character the most. The possessive ex-boyfriend of Parvathy's protagonist, Govind gets his ego and envy get the better of him as he scars his lover for life. A perfect example of misogyny, we are glad that karma gets to him in the end, even if the law doesn't.
Sleevachan in Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha
Asif Ali in Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha
Perhaps his best performance to date comes in his most recent movie (at the time of writing this article). Asif plays Sleevachan, a hardworking farmer who doesn't know the ways of marital life, much to the dismay of his new bride. And in an effort to please her, he commits a crime that not just her, but even his family could not forgive. Asif does a fantastic job of getting the nuance and the variance of the character's emotional graph right.