Certainly, some may dub the Maldivian film industry as less glamorous or grandiose than its counterparts in the East and West, but the Maldives has had its share of unforgettable celebrities.
While some actors and actresses spend their whole lives contributing to the industry, most stars shine only for a little while. Only a rare few retain their sparkle throughout the decades.
These days, as more young talents emerge into the limelight, the Maldivian film industry continues to grow and glow in new and exciting ways.
In fact, enthusiastic movie goers from the 90’s are lucky if they spot even a few familiar faces on today’s ultra defined, far glossier screens.
Over the years several celebrities seem to have ended their cinematic relationships for what only can be imagined as being for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they got too busy with their personal lives. Perhaps they found themselves detouring towards a different fame.
Whatever their stories may be, there are some stars who remain still a part of our anecdotes, celebrated afresh by nostalgic memes, whose glorious performances we cannot help but miss every day.
Take a trip down the Maldivian Boulevard of Fame and glimpse our favorite stars, today vs the height of their stardom.
Perhaps the only woman affectionately known by her full name, the stunning Mariyam Nisha could easily be crowned one of the all-time sweethearts of the Maldivian Film Industry.
She made her debut with the video song “Gendhanyaa Gendhavaashey” and reigned over the hearts of the audiences, directors and producers throughout the country, for many years.
During her career, she starred in over 20 movies, in multiple drama series and countless video songs. She is best known for her performances in popular movies like “Zuleykha”, “Naaumeedhu”, “Ginihila”, “Majubooru loabi”, “Sanndhuravirey” among many others.
Although she has shown no move to re-enter the movie industry of Maldives, it seems clear that she would be welcomed with arms wide open, by movie makers and movie-goers alike!
An established politician these days, it may surprise younger generations of Maldivians to know that Moosa Manik, popularly known by his alias Reeko Moosa, was once the closest thing to a Maldivian super star. Although he has since ended his movie career, he continues to retain the love of many fans still hopeful for a comeback.
Despite having acted in several films and video songs alongside many a co-star, his most popular pairing was undeniably opposite cinema sweetheart Mariyam Nisha. Their sizzling on-screen chemistry was immortalised on screen by their unforgettable performance in the beloved song “Dhanee hey Aisbalaa.”
Some of Moosa's most famous films are “Loabivevidhaane”, “Fathis Handhuvaru”, “Ihthifaagu’, “Biru”, “Haggu”, “Naaumeedhu”, “Sirru” and “Majubooru Loabi”.
Moosa reportedly fell out of favor with his then aligned political party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in 2011, following a bid for Presidency in the 2014 elections.
He is yet to make headlines since, on the political arena as well as in terms of cinematic pursuits.
Aishath Shirany is one of the brightest stars ever to have illuminated the likes of the Maldivian film industry. People still anticipate even the slightest of her glances. Shirany made her debut alongside well known Maldivian actor Giyas.
She started her film career with “Naseeb” and moved on to act in renowned movies like “Zaham”, “Kalaayaa Nulaa”, “Nafrath”, “Fun Asaru”, “Lailaa”, “Zalzalaa” and “Namoona”.
Though many people have long waited for her to make a comeback, she has firmly stated that she will no longer be making appearances on the silver screen.
Immortalized on television screens across the country by the cult favorite ‘Maheynethidhaaney”, and the unforgettable dance moves featured in the music video, Giyas is a star in his own right.
Always energetic on screen, some of his most famous performances include “Hiy Hadhiyaa Kohfaa”, "Dheyshey Hithuge Magaam”, “Ey Nuforuvaa Hazaana”.
Though he bid adieu to the world of film and television over a decade ago, his vibrant presence has yet to be replaced in the Maldivian film industry.
A businessman in his own right, he has also spoken of continuing to run dance classes and performance training for interested parties in recent interviews.
For a lot of people, Ismail Wajeeh remains a legendary actor who has contributed immensely to the Maldivian Film industry. He started working in this industry in 1985 and acted in countless video songs still fervently sung and danced along to at various gatherings today.
Songs like “Hoadhama Hoadhaa”, “Jaaney Dhoove Jaan”, “Keevehey Nivaavumun” and “Ladhunhe Loamaraa Nulaashey” will forever bring memories of Wajeeh and his onscreen persona.
Having now phased over to being a bonafide social media icon, his vast number of followers are evidence to his lasting talent as an entertainer and deep-rooted popularity among Maldivians.
Widely heralded as the Vidya Balan of her time in the Maldives, Jamdheedha started her movie career in 1996 with the video song “Nudhaashe Dhookohfaa Loabivaa”. She has acted in up to 16 films, over 80 video songs and several drama series during her career.
Some of her famous movies include “Hinithunvun”, “Amaanaai”, “Vehey Vaarey Therein” and “Loabeege Aniyaa”.
Having set the hearts of hundreds of teenage boys aflutter in the 90's, it is not hard to imagine that vivid memories of Jamsheedha's beauty are treasured still in many a male Maldivian heart.
A Maldivian “Helen” is the perfect description for this actress. Much like the infamous bollywood dancer and movie star, Waleedha's dance moves gained her many lifelong fans.
Often seen alongside Giyas, in their heyday the pair never failed to deliver energetic on-screen performances.
Some of her songs include, “Eyna Meena”, "Veenuvee eh neynguney" and "Kuraathee dhen asaru".
Having left behind her movie star days, Waleedha is now an active participant in local politics, currently serving as Jumhooree Party (JP)’s Women’s League President.