57-year-old Mohanlal is playing his age—interest in the film has been accentuated by the much-discussed rugged look and salt-and-pepper beard. For an actor known to make audiences suspend disbelief when it comes to his real-life age and stature, playing an older person is quite a move, industry experts say.
“I want to do roles that no one else has ever done, which I know is difficult,” Mohanlal says over email, days after he has wrapped up the shoot. “I am always browsing through scripts and hearing wonderful stories. I read script after script and finally say, ‘this is not bad’.The much-anticipated Diwali release sits heavy on his shoulders. But Mohanlal, perennially busy with acting, is already away, shooting for an untitled project in a remote location on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. For a month, he will be confined to his van between shots.
“I am not saying it’s the best script ever written, but there are possibilities for me to perform and that is what I look for,” he says about this film.
“Sometimes, it’s the writer whose work I have confidence in. Sometimes, I think something magical will happen on the sets. But above all, I have complete faith in my directors who’ve moulded me according to their choice on screen.”
Some of the “magic” he mentions, quite clearly, is happening.
Nearly 40 years after he first forayed into Malayalam cinema, Mohanlal remains the face of the Malayali superstar. The last year was particularly eventful.
In his forthcoming film villain his 333rd as an actor, Mohanlal plays a retired policeman investigating the deaths of eight children. The drama and thriller is typical of the kind of films he has done of late.
His Telugu action drama janatha garage emerged as the highest grosser of the year in that language with worldwide collections of Rs135 crore. Director Priyadarshan’s Malayalam crime thriller Oppam followed suit soon, collecting Rs65 crore worldwide.