Mohanlal, popularly known as the Complete Actor of Indian cinema is celebrating his 59th birthday today, May 21. In a career that has been spanning over four decades, the Superstar has acted in more than 300 Malayalam films, and in this glorious journey, he has also marked his presence felt in other industries like Bollywood, Tollywood, Sandalwood, and Kollywood.
On this auspicious day, International Business Times, India takes you through this man's remarkable journey and the way in which he taught a small industry like Mollywood to dream big.
Three things in Mohanlal's life; Cinema, Cinema, and Cinema
Mohanlal made his acting debut through the movie 'Thiranottam' in 1978, and at that time, he was just 18 years old. Interestingly, this movie was, even after the completion of the shooting failed to reach the theatres due to censorship issues. In the meantime, Mohanlal made his screen debut in 1980 with the movie 'Manjil Virinja Pookkal' directed by Faasil as the lead antagonist.
'Manjil Virinja Pookkal' featured Mohanlal playing the role of Narendran, a dreaded villain. "Good Evening Mrs Prabha Narendran", the iconic dialogue delivered by Mohanlal in 'Manjil Virinja Pookkal' still lives in the minds of Mollywood movie buffs even after 38 years of the film's theatrical release.
'Manjil Virinja Pookkal' emerged as a huge success at the box-office, and it helped Mohanlal to rack up more offers from the industry, and many of them being negative roles.
Mohanlal became one of the most lovable actors among Mollywood audiences after the release of 'Poochakkoru Mookkuthi' in 1984 directed by Priyadarshan. The comedy entertainer was a huge hit at the box-office, and the film even now enjoys good TRP ratings when it gets screened in television.
In the coming years, Mohanlal delivered huge hits at the box-office with movies like Nokketha Doorathu Kannum Nattu (1985), Aram+Aram=Kinnaram (1985), Boeing Boieng (1985), Ninnishtam Ennishtam (1986), Pappan Priyappetta Pappan (1986), Hello My Dear Wrong Number (1986), Gandhinagar 2nd Street (1986), and TP Balagopalan MA (1986). As the star successfully delivered a handful of hits in 1985 and 1986, he became one of the most bankable actors in the industry.
The 'Superstar' tag was given to Mohanlal after the release of 'Rajavinte Makan' which was also released in 1986. The film directed by Thambi Kannanthanam featured Mohanlal playing the role of Vincent Gomez, an underworld don. The film, upon its release, emerged as a gigantic hit at the box-office, and it broke all the collection records at that time.
In 1988, Mohanlal delivered another industry hit through 'Chithram' directed by Priyadarshan. The film ran for more than one year, and it is widely considered as one of the most elegant comedy entertainers ever released in Malayalam.
In the 1990s, Mohanlal changed his route a bit, and he primarily concentrated on roles that exploited his star power. In Devasuram (1993), and Aaram Thampuran (1997), Mohanlal played the roles of a feudal landlord, and both the films were well received by critics and audiences alike. Aaduthoma in 'Sphadikam' was another memorable role played by Mohanlal in the 1990s.
However, when several directors tried to typecast Mohanlal in these kinds of roles, his career witnessed a dramatic fall. Movies like 'Thandavam', 'Praja', and 'Onnaman' bombed at the box-office amidst huge pre-release hype. Even though the first decade of the 21st century was not so great for Mohanlal, he delivered some noted hits like 'Narasimham', 'Balettan' and 'Rasathanthram' in this period.
In 2013, Mohanlal introduced 50 crore club to Mollywood through his movie 'Drishyam'. This thriller directed by Jeethu Joseph became a huge hit at the box-office, and it collected more than Rs 67 crores at the box-office. Mohanlal's 'Pulimurugan' which was released in 2016 collected Rs 160 crores, while 'Odiyan' (2018) grossed more than Rs 100 crores.
Mohanlal's 2019 release 'Lucifer' directed by Prithviraj Sukumaran collected Rs 200 crores at the box-office, and it became the first ever Malayalam movie to achieve this feat.
Mohanlal: The man who redefined Malayalam cinema
In this glorious career, Mohanlal has received several awards and recognition for his acting skill. Mohanlal got two National Awards in the best actor category for his performances in Bharatham (Bharatham) and Vaanaprastham (1999). He has also won nine state awards in his career.
He has won the Filmfare awards nine times and has also won the Nandi awards for his performance in Janatha Garage, a Telugu film which was released in 2016.
In 2001, the nation honoured Mohanlal with Padma Shri, and he was given the Padma Bhushan in 2019.
The unending passion towards cinema
Even after acting for four decades, Mohanlal's passion towards cinema is unending, and he is trying to explore more characters that will utilize his mettle to the fullest. His upcoming movie is 'Marakkar: Arabikkadalinte Simham', a historical war drama directed by Priyadarshan. Some of his other noted projects for the future include 'Big Brother' and 'Ittimani from China'. The actor will be also making his directorial debut soon with the movie 'Barroz'.