Mohanlal, fondly called 'Lalettan' among his fans is now the most bankable and valuable superstar in Mollywood. With a minimum guarantee, Mohanlal's movies continue to emerge as safe bets for producers, except some flicks like Big Brother which bombed at the box-office.
However, these flop movies also used to rack up decent sums in terms of satellite rights, and it makes Mohanlal the most demanded star among bankrollers in Mollywood.
How Mohanlal emerged as a brand in Mollywood?
Mohanlal became a Superstar in Mollywood after the release of Rajavinte Makan in 1986. Interestingly, Thampi Kannanthanam, director of this film, initially approached Mammootty to do the lead role in this film. However, Mammootty rejected this offer, and Mohanlal did this role. The film emerged as a super hit at the box-office, and it marked the rise of a new Superstar in Mollywood.
After the success of Rajavinte Makan, Mohanlal acted in several blockbuster movies, and he started sharing the superstar status with Mammootty. In 1994, Action King Suresh Gopi was also elevated to Superstar status as his cop thriller Commissioner broke all existing collection records.
In the late 1990s, Mohanlal acted in Aaraam Thampuran, and in 2000, he played the role of a daring hero in Narasimham. Both these films emerged as industry hits in Mollywood, and at the same time, Mammootty delivered blockbusters like Valiyettan. However, post-2000, Mohanlal delivered continuous flops at the box-office, and it was during this time that Mammootty gained an upper hand over Mohanlal in terms of star power.
Drishyam, Pulimurugan and Odiyan
Since 2013, Mammootty and Mohanlal shared superstar status in Mollywood. But, in 2013, Mohanlal's Drishyam directed by Jeethu Joseph was released, and it grossed more than Rs 50 crores at the box-office. Later, Mohanlal introduced a Malayalam film to the elite 100 crore club with Pulimurugan. This action film was later dubbed and released in Tamil and Telugu, and the success of these flicks made him a Pan Indian star.
However, it was the pre-release hype generated by Odiyan which made Mohanlal the biggest brand in Mollywood. Director VA Shrikumar who is a genius in marketing publicized the film in such a way that audiences got surprised and excited as each Odiyan posters got released. Upon release, the film shattered all initial days collection records, despite getting mixed reviews from all corners.
Later, Mohanlal played the lead role in the Prithviraj Sukumaran directorial Lucifer. The film grossed more than Rs 200 crores at the box-office, thus becoming the first Mollywood movie to achieve this feat. As Lucifer was released on Amazon Prime, the film received a bigger audience, and Mohanlal became the face of Mollywood in front of International audiences.
Currently, Mohanlal is awaiting the release of Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, which is the most expensive Mollywood film ever made in history. In this movie, Mohanlal will be playing the role of a marine warrior, and this epic action film is being directed by Priyadarshan. The film is loaded with an ensemble star cast that includes Manju Warrier, Prabhu Ganesan, Arjun Sarja, Suneil Shetty, and Pranav Mohanlal.
The makers of the movie are planning to release the movie in a record number of theatres, and the film will be also dubbed to various Indian languages. If this film becomes a success, Mohanlal, in all probabilities, will become Pan-Indian superstars like Rajinikanth and Prabhas.