The house is Mohanlal’s. So it has got to be a top-notch one, high on aesthetics, yet sensitive and refined.
The actor’s dream home at Thevara, Kochi, colourfully comes into life with a row of arali trees (Nerium oleander) in full bloom setting up the backdrop. The ambience is already there, of leaves and red flowers carpeting the granite-laden garden. The place is covered in green with plants and trees hiding the abode from prying eyes. A pandal, made of wooden planks, but without a roof, standing on finely carved pillars is an eye-catching feature. In the green yard stands an old cycle rickshaw under a separately structured roof. That’s apparently a keepsake, something Mohanlal took for himself when he enacted the character of 'Pappu' from the 1965 movie 'Odayil Ninnu' for Manorama’s well-conceived stage show 'Kathayattam', aimed at promoting Malayalam literature.
Move up the stone steps and what greets you is the element of water flanking the house. The water is live with colorful fish swimming around. Over the waters lies a small wooden bridge which takes you inside. A Singapore expertise is what keeps the water around pure and crystal clear at all times, a technique perfected after years of effort.
Walk in and what unfolds is a jaw-dropper. You are left speechless. Down below lies an expansive aquarium, topped with glass and you need to step across to get in, only to be met by another aquarium in front. This is no ordinary fish tank. It takes you into the deep seas. You can see the lake spread outside through this aquarium. It is like seeing the sea flowing inside.
Here’s a private room, the walls of which are covered with pictures and paintings, gifts for the actor from friends, with a national honour in center, followed by the Padmashree Award. A totally private nook, the room is sound-proof too.
A small step down leads to the drawing room. On one of the walls hangs what looks like a machine, resembling a musical clock. The curious, antique piece came back with Mohanlal from one of his trips abroad. The drawing room opens out into a verandah overlooking the lake. One side of the drawing room is covered with mirror doors. The view from the verandah is magnificent, with the sprawling Kochi backwaters and buildings looking like miniatures on its banks. Boats, big and small, sail by.
The swimming pool close to the verandah looks inviting. The pool which has no special dimension or shape lies entwined between two njaval (black plum or jamun) trees. There is a small niche on the verandah, a mini bar in reality. It’s like going down a small step for a glass of cheers.
The way up is decorated with curios. There are rooms ready for kids and guests. An open bath space, the floors of which are covered with white pebbles is a curious design element. A shower within the space is an experience to be felt. Water from the shower seeps through the pebbles and gives the effect of having a bath in a pebbly river with the shingle stones rolling under your feet. All the windows open out to the lake.
A verandah beside the master bedroom has the home theatre. It’s not a mean space. You can lie around, relax and enjoy a movie in all its accompanying luxury, including blu-ray technology. An imported screen and fine sound systems are the highlights here. This verandah opens out into an art gallery. This is Mohanlal’s arbor, his special space where all his art collections, the ones he sourced from all his travels, rare pictures, sculptures and all the priceless objects the actor has won so far are on display.
All of artist Namboodiri’s pictures find a separate space here. A rare and exquisite Thanjavur portrait finds pride of place in the art gallery. This could perhaps be the biggest art gallery in Kerala in the possession of a private individual. There are steps down from the gallery to the shady trees outside, to a canvas of natural beauty where the lake meets the sky and the trees host the birds with their endless symphony.
Since the actor is always away on tour, or busy with his film schedules, the family seldom lives here. At the moment the office of Ashirwad Cinemas works from this dream abode of Mohanlal.
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