Kalaripayattu, according to Wikipedia is probably the oldest martial artform in the world (video here). It is now mainly practiced in Kerala and said to be the basis for most of the Chinese martial arts. Around the 16th century, chekavars (people trained in Kalari) were used to settle disputes between people, kind of surrogate warriors and they have been immortalized in Kerala folklore. (If you want to see life of people of that era, the best movie to watch is Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, written by M T Vasudevan Nair in which Mammotty played the best role of his career)
While there have been many Malayalam movies about Kalari only one Tamil movie (Indian by Shankar) I know of and no Hindi movie has shown this martial artform. Now thanks to Jackie Chan, Kalari is getting a world audience.
Last year, Chan happened to see a CD the Kerala Tourism Department sent him, requesting him to be the brand ambassador of its tourism initiatives.
Kerala Tourism could not get Chan, but Sathyanarayanan — who performed the traditional Kerala martial art Kalaripayattu in the CD — impressed Chan so much that the superstar invited him to be part of his new film.
Sathyanarayanan flew to Shanghai for a 30-day shoot with Chan for The Myth; the film includes Tony Leung Ka Fai, Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat and television actor Sudhanshu Pandey.
Since then, Sathyanarayanan has not looked back. “I am getting a number of offers from Hollywood. All because of Jackie Chan only,” he told rediff.com.[Jackie Chan and the art of Kalaripayattu]
Now Sathyanarayanan has been invited to act in another Hollywood movie and there are few enquiries from other film companies abroad.