Mohanlal, a giant of Malayalam cinema is still raring to go at 55
Mohanlal, a giant of Malayalam cinema is still raring to go at 55. The actor, whose career spans 30 years, is known for hits such as NadodiKaatu, Devasuram, Kaalapani, Narasimham and Thanmatra. Here's a pictorial look at his journey as he turns a year older.
Mohanlal was born in Pathanamthitta in Kerala. His father, an officer in the state government secretariat went on to became the Law Secretary of Kerala. He had an elder brother, Pyarelal, who died in 2000. He was raised in his maternal house in Thiruvananthapuram and studied at Model School there.
The first time his acting ability came to the fore was at the Model School (Trivandrum) in 1972. While he was in the sixth grade and competing with 10th graders, he was selected as the best actor!
However, Mohanlal's first foray into films didn't prove as lucky. He was offered a small role in Thiranottam (1978) produced by his friends from the Bharath CineGroup. The film was released only in 2005 and in very few screens.
Mohanlal made his onscreen debut with director Fazil's debut venture Manjil Virinja Pookkal (1980), playing a villain.
In the next three years, Mohanlal played the antagonist in over 25 films. But that was to change soon. In years to come, he was to be seen as the face of family entertainers, comedies and even offbeat cinema.
Mohanlal made his debut in comedy with 1984's Poochakoru Mookkuthi directed by his friend Priyadarshan. This was also the beginning of a long association that has till date spanned nearly 30 films in three decades.
Mohanlal received his first Kerala State Award for Best Actor for T.P.Balagopalan M.A, directed by Sathyan Anthikad. The film's screenplay was written by Sreenivasan. This was another relationship which grew with time. Sreenivasan and Mohanlal have acted together in multiple super hits too.
In 1986, he scored another blockbuster hit as an underworld don in Rajavinte Makan. The film propelled Mohanlal to the status of matinee idol and his dialogue 'My phone number is 2255' (yes it was '80s) became a catchphrase for generations.
The '90s, often dubbed as the golden era of Malayalam cinema, witnessed Mohanlal portraying challenging characters and breaking many stereotypes in films. Among Mohanlal's most successful films of this decade is Devasuram, written by Ranjith and directed by I V Sasi. The film is considered one of his best performances till date.
In 1996, Mohanlal acted in Priyadarshan's Kalapani. The film was a superhit in Malayalam and was appreciated in others where it was dubbed and released.
During these years, Mohanlal also stepped out of the Malayalam film industry. His first non-Malayalam movie was the Tamil film Iruvar (1997), directed by Mani Ratnam. His character was based on Tamil superstar MG Ramchandran while debutant actress Aishwarya Rai played his wife.
In 1997, Mohanlal's film Guru was India's official entry in the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars.
Mohanlal won a National Award for Best Actor for the Indo-French movie Vaanaprastham (1999). The film was also selected for the competitive section at the Cannes Film Festival for that year.
In the next decade Mohanlal continued his winning performances. In the year 2000, he starred in Narasimham, which became Malayalam cinema's biggest hit till then. The film's dialogue 'Nee Poo Mone Dinesha' became synonymous with Mohanlal's matinee idol persona forever.
Mohanlal's first Hindi film was Ram Gopal Varma's Company in 2002. He won the IIFA Star Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing Mumbai police commissioner in the film.
Mohanlal resume of acclaimed performances grew with movies such Kirtichakra (2006), Rasathantram (2006) and Paradesi (2007).
Mohanlal made his debut on stage in the Sanskrit play Karnabharam.
In 2009, he received the honorary title of Lieutenant Colonel from the Indian Territorial Army. He was the first actor to be given such an honour. The title was a celebration of his performances as an army officer in numerous films which encouraged the youth to join the army.
2011 was a good year for Mohanlal. Christian Brothers, his first release in 2011 became the highest grossing Malayalam film in that year. His other releases the same year - China Town, Pranayam, Snehaveedu and Oru Marubhoomikkadha also did well at the box office.
The actor played the role of a police officer in Priyadarshan's Bollywood action-thriller Tezz which released in 2011.
Though 2012 started with his much awaited Casanova tanking at the box office, his other films Grandmaster, Run Baby Run and Karmayodha were hits.
2013 began with a whimper but ended with a bang for Mohanlal after the release of Malayalam cinema's all-time blockbuster Drishyam. 2014 was also a good year with hits like Mr. Fraud and Peruchazhi.
Mohanlal's first release in 2015 was the Kannada version of the Malayalam film Mythri, in which he received rave reviews for his role of a revenge seeking scientist. His Ennum Eppozhum opposite Manju Warrier, which released in March, has received a mixed response from critics and the audience. The Joshy-directed Laila O Laila opposite Amala Paul - which hit theatres last week - has also elicited a lukewarm response at the box office.
Mohanlal has promising projects lined up this year with directors like Priyadarshan and Sreekumar.
Here's wishing Mohanlal a very happy birthday and a successful year ahead.