Screen icon Mohanlal's lockdown days are just like all of ours- yoga, cooking, leisure strolls around the house and catching up with those who were missed during these years. As he turns 60 on Thursday, the onscreen phenomenon is at home, enjoying a much deserved break for the first time in 40 years.
Mohanlal revisits some of the memorable moments in his career and life in a candid telephone interview from his home in Chennai.
Do you feel any changes sitting at home for such long duration?
I can say whether something has changed only when I go outside. I have been strictly staying inside my house. Many of my colleagues are struggling during this time. I am really upset about it. The fact that I could spend so much time with my family, without bothering about anything else, is the small joy that I have amidst all these. I wake up in the morning, read the newspaper and then do some exercise.
Do you have any worries right now?
I am sad that I am not near my mother. She is relaxing at our home in Kochi. I came here thinking that I could return in two days. I see and talk to her everyday through video calls. We cannot do anything about it, can we? Things like these aren’t anticipated by anyone.
You have said that after your father lost memory, your mother used to hold his hands and take him to functions and feed him. What lessons do you learn from your mother?
It is from your mother that you learn the first habits in your life. I may have felt that I should help others just as my mother had taken care of my father. I don’t do anything consciously. All the friendships in my life are the ones that I have sought or pursued. I didn’t earn their friendship waiting for them to come to me. I am someone who believes that you should pursue the good minds.
Cinema is a haven of many beliefs and superstitions. However, none has seen you ever visiting a temple even during the time of the release of your movies.
I am not someone who personally wishes to visit the temples to communicate with the Gods. I visited Guruvayur recently because lots of people began asking me why I hadn’t visited the temple for so long. I don’t believe faith is something that should be declared through constant visits to the temple. My beliefs dwell in my mind. It is I who experience the joy and pain of it. I don’t believe God is someone who exists only to grand our wishes.
Priyadarshan has once said, ‘Priyadarshan wouldn’t exist without Lal’. Sathyan Anthikad said, ‘My career changed after meeting Mohanlal’. What do you think about it?
Such collaborations have happened in movies in all the languages. This is story telling; amazing stories could be shared between those who share closer bonds. They could see each other with more clarity. I have done some incredible roles with Sibi Malayil and Lohithadas. Directors Bharathan and Padmarajan gave me unique characters. I have reached where I am because of the amazing roles and blessings of many great filmmakers like IV Sasi, T Damodaran, Joshiy, Sreenivasan, Bhadran and Sasikumar. It’s just that I am not mentioning everyone’s names. I haven’t done a movie with Sathyan Anthikad since the last 12 years. There may be many reasons for that. However, I feel the warmth of inexplicable love when he says that he has kept aside a story just for me. Can you imagine what would have happened if Priyadarshan hadn’t given me movies like Thalavattom and Kaalapaani. For me, life is like a jungle where everyone grows in mutual love.
Are you worried about your son Pranav’s career in the movies?
He isn’t worried about it; then why should I be. Appu’s world is mostly books and mountaineering. He enjoys living his life like this. Amidst all these, he enjoys doing movies as well. Appu lives without any wishes, just like me.
How do you maintain friendly relations equally with Narendra Modi and Pinarayi Vijayan?
I don’t have any political motives; neither do I stand with any particular political ideology. I believe that they are honest and credible people who worked hard to reach the top positions so that they can do great things. I have great respect for them. They too realize the incredible reverence that I have for them. This, and not my political ideals, is what drew them closer to me. I have already told that I wish to pursue great minds and draw them closer to me.
As a birthday surprise to his fans Mohanlal announced that he would be acting in Drishyam 2 next. It is a sequel to the blockbuster movie Drishyam that was released in December 2013. Jeethu Joseph would be writing and directing the sequel. Meanwhile, Antony Perumbavoor would be bankrolling Drishyam 2 for the banner of Aashirvad Cinemas. Antony told Manorama that Drishyam 2 is a crime thriller that would be filmed in the current situation of regulations. The movie has been planned in a way to be shot continuously for 60 days at various locations in Kerala after the lockdown is lifted. Mohanlal would act in other movies only after completing Drishyam 2.