Malayalam superstar Mohanlal celebrated his 57th birthday on May 22. The actor, who made his acting debut with a negative role in the 1980 Fazil’s film Manjil Virinja Pookkal, has featured in more than 300 Malayalam films since then. Fondly known as Lalettan by the fans and Kerala film lovers, the actor bagged the superstardom in the year 1986 with 28 clean hits out of his 34 films released that year. His role ‘Vincent Gomez’ in Fazil’s Rajavinte Makan worked wonders for the Malayalam superstar.
Mohanlal often used to say that there is no language barrier in cinema and he has proved it by doing many non-Malayalam films. InUth brings you five films featuring Mohanlal that justify what he said and believe in:
Release date: January 14, 1997
Though Mohanlal had done guest appearances in two Telugu films directed by Priyadarshan, his first non-Malayalam film in a lead role was released in 1997, Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Iruvar. Mohanlal portrayed the role of Anandam, a character inspired by the former actor-politician M G Ramachandran and the performance is touted to be one of the best works of the legendary actor. During the shoot, Mani Ratnam stated that Mohanlal had the ability to make everything absolutely realistic with the least amount of effort. He also added that he forgot to say ‘cut’ while watching Mohanlal’s performance live. Iruvar also marked the acting debut of former Miss World and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Role: IPS Veerapalli Srinivasan
Release date: April 12, 2002
Mohanlal made his Bollywood debut with Ram Gopal Varma’s crime-thriller Company. The film, which also starred Ajay Devgn and Manisha Koirala, marked the acting debut of Vivek Oberoi. Lalettan was seen as IPS Veerapalli Srinivasan, who uses the rift between Ajay Devgn and Vivek Oberoi in the film to bring the mafia under control. The film has been praised for Mohanlal’s performance as well along with other lead actors. Monalal’s performance in Company went on to win him the best supporting actor at the IIFA Awards and Star Screen Awards to become the first South film actor to do so.
Role: Chennai City Police Commissioner Irinjalakkuda Govindan Raghavan Maraar
Release date: September 18, 2009
The 2009 Tamil film Unnaipol Oruvan saw the collaboration of two of India’s greatest actors, Kamal Haasan and Mohanlal. The film, a drama-thriller, was a remake of Bollywood director Neeraj Pandey’s National award winning film, A Wednesday. Kamal Haasan essayed the role of Naseeruddin Shah while Lalettan portrayed the role played Anupam Kher. The film opened to rave reviews and turned out to be a Box Office success. Similar to A Wednesday, Unnaipol Oruvan, too has been praised for the acting of both the South megastars.
Role: Madurai don Sivan
Release date: January 10, 2014
R T Neason’s Jilla opened to excellent response at the Tamil Nadu box office upon its release. Similar to Unnaipol Oruvan, Jilla too marked the collaboration of two superstars Mohanlal and Ilayathalapathy Vijay. The film starred Lalettan in the titular role of a Madurai-based don, who adopts a boy played by Vijay to become his right hand. The film also showcases the egos created between Mohanlal and Vijay and that the former was exceptional in the film. In fact, the Malayalam actor got the maximum screen presence in the first half of the film. The actor’s salt-and-pepper look in Jilla also turned out to be a trendsetter look in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Jilla had run more than 100 days at the Tamil Box Office and ended up as Rs 90 crore blockbuster.
Role: Workshop owner Sathyam
Release date: September 1, 2016
Janatha Garage saw Mohanlal in the titular role of a small workshop owner Sathyam. The actor was accompanied by Telugu superstar Jr. NTR in the film as well. However, it was Mohanlal’s performance that created the headline for the film. The Complete Actor won his fifth National award for the terrific portrayal of Sathyam in the film along with his recent Malayalam blockbusters Pulimurugan and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol. Janatha Garage, which turned out the highest Telugu grosser of 2016, also marks the first Rs 100 crore grosser for Mohanlal. Mohanlal also emerged as the first Malayalam superstar to have a Rs 100 crore grosser at the Box Office. Thanks to Janatha Garage success, Lalettan has received a solid Telugu fan base which helped the actor’s Telugu dubbed versions of Oppam and Pulimurugan, Kanupapa and Manyam Puli to become runaway blockbusters at the Telugu Box Office. Janatha Garage also starred Malayalam youth icon Unni Mukundan as Mohanlal’s son.
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