As megastar Mammootty celebrates his 70th birthday, his fellow actor and screen icon Mohanlal recalls some of the most amazing moments that they had shared together. Mohanlal says that Mammootty had been extremely busy in Chennai during the time when his son Dulquer Salmaan was born. The award winning actor had been enjoying a fabulous time in his career and was constantly traveling from one set to another.
“In those days, the movies were nothing like what we see today. It was difficult to come home to Kerala even for once in a month. Once, he came to his home in Kochi at night and returned the next morning. He couldn’t meet his father at his ancestral home in Chembu during that trip. His father called him after a few days and asked him why he didn’t come to Chembu. Then Mammookka said, ‘I had an urge to see my son. That is why I came running home and had returned soon. I will come surely back soon.’
Mammookka’s father asked, ‘Wouldn’t the father and mother in Chembu too wish to see their son”.
Mohanlal shares an incident from Mammootty’s life which the latter had told him once.
Mohanlal says that the serene love that Mammootty’s father had for his kids could be seen in the mega star too. No matter how busy he is, Mammootty would always find time to be with his family. Mohanlal says that it is the only thing that he compromises in cinema. The actor adds that he and his family have been lucky enough to enjoy Mammootty’s incredible love and care.
“After reading my daughter’s book, Dulquer Salmaan ended his congratulatory note as “Yours beloved Chalu chettan”. Mammookka had passed on the essence of his love to his kids as well; and that is what made Dulquer express his love as if to his own little sister. Would there be a greater happiness than knowing that Dulquer and Pranav share a close bond?” asks Mohanlal.
Mohanlal says that he has been calling Mammootty ‘Ichakka’ since a long time. Interestingly, Mammootty’s own siblings call him that. Meanwhile, Mammootty’s wife became his beloved ‘bhabi’ (an endearing term for sister-in-law). Mohanlal has no qualms in saying that he had learned discipline and dedication from a big brother like Mammootty.
“Ichakka would only eat what is just required, no matter how delicious the food is. I haven’t seen him overeating. But, I am just the opposite. I would eat a lot if someone insists with love. However, Mammookka hasn’t tried to advise me against it. Maybe he thinks that there is no point in advising me in this matter. We haven’t, until now, told each other whether our movies had been good or bad. But, he would tell his opinions to our friends so that they would let me know,” notes Mohanlal.
Mohanlal calls the megastar an extremely emotional person who feels sad or gets angry very easily. However, the actor says that he hasn’t seen, in his career spanning 50 years, Mammootty nurturing hatred in his heart. Mammootty possess a gentle heart that would get calm after an initial outburst. Mohanlal says that Mammootty had always behaved the same with him when he had both ups and downs in life.
“We used to often meet when we were living in Chennai. I was, in fact, scared to sit in the car that he drives. He is a great driver; but I like when the chauffeur drives. He would offer me rides if we are going on the same route. But, I wouldn’t go. Then, we were like kids who were just starting out in the industry. When we ‘grew’ up, we went our separate ways. Ichakka settled in Kochi and I shuttled between Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram. We couldn’t meet as often as we used to. But, it doesn’t mean that we had grown apart. It’s just that we didn’t know what was happening in each other’s life on a daily basis. The same would happen even with brothers who grew up in the same house. We would talk about our latest projects whenever we call each other,” recalls Mohanlal.
“Ichakka was born to become an actor through his hard work and dedication. He works hard every moment of his life. I am someone who became an actor through friendships; and had unknowingly landed in this field. I am still in awe of the life and acting skills of Mammootty. He is someone who lives by watching and learning movies. I haven’t seen another actor who has moulded his life in such an amazing fashion. Ichakka still has the same mind and attitude that he had fifty years ago,” notes the actor.
“It is not a small thing that you feel a sense of security when you are in the presence of a big brother. Ichakka is not someone who always keeps you closer, but he surely looks after me with love even from a distance. I feel the same sense of security and courage with him that a little kid enjoys while walking to school in the company of his elder brother,” Mohanlal cannot hide his love.
Mohanlal says that it is not a trivial thing to stay successful in the arts field for half a century. He commends Mammootty for building a fabulous career and family and sharing the same values to his children too.
“Ichakka often says that his biggest hit is his family. I am a younger brother who still wishes to enjoy his love even if we are away from each other. I cannot predict the future; neither do I know whether this would be my fate. But, for Ichakka, his destiny is to be an actor always. My Ichakka would be an artist today, tomorrow and for the rest of his life too,” Mohanlal ends his lovely note.