There are innumerable articles about this man. There is a side of world that has never heard of him and there is another, that worships him. In his words, it’s the characters he plays on screen that the people know and appreciate. For me, I love the man, irrespective of whether he wears a wig or not, of whatever negative is written about it. Makes no difference. He is an artist and I love his art and his looks 😀.
I started watching his movies probably in the early nineties. Living in Bangalore access to his movies was limited apart from the video cassettes we rented from a malayali’s video shop and the Sunday afternoon doordarshan award winning movies. I hated those movies back then.
There was one instance where I accompanied my cousins to watch Bharatham at a theatre in Perinthalmanna. I cried at the end of the movie and I was freakingly scared for a couple of days after that because of the photo of Nedumudi Venu they show after he is dead. That was my first tryst with Mohanlal. Then there is a memory of watching Maya Mayooram with my mother at a depleted Commercial Street theatre. Boeing Boeing was my childhood favorite, it was from a tiny collection of movies my family owned. It’s after I moved to Trivandrum in 2000 that my love for him started growing. I watched many of his movies, I still dare not say that I have watched most of his movies. So over the next five to seven years I stared at the charisma and persona in the movies, applauded his acting prowess and cried at the sad endings.
Then came the year 2007. It is significant because my younger son was born that year, but its special for another reason. Mohanlal and group were coming to California for a show. Of course we would watch the show, because the venue was a few miles away from where we lived. The icing was something else.
Our good friend told my husband and I the location of where Mohanlal would stay. It was a mile away from our house. Both of us are equally crazy about Mohanlal. So that October evening we (my husband, kids and my mother) went to the hotel and asked at the reception for Mohanlal. Just like that. The receptionist had no idea who this person was or what his aura was. She connected me to Mohanlal’s room. Somebody else picked the phone and said he was in discussions and to come at 7.30 am the next day. With a little hope still left we went back home.
The next day, that beautiful morning we wore our best clothes with a manual camera loaded with a new roll of film we went. Back at the reception I asked the same question, “we are here to meet Mohanlal”. She connected me to his room and on the other end I heard a “Hello”. There is no way I could have mistaken that voice. I could recognize it anywhere, anytime. My heart literally skipped a beat. I said “Hello Laletta (as he is popularly known), I am at the reception to meet you, I was told if we come at 7.30 we could meet you”. He said, “Oh is it? Do one thing, wait for 15 minutes, I will freshen up and be there”. The entire conversation was in Malayalam.
I hung up the phone and I was jumping for joy. Oh did I mention, my mother is also as crazy as me about him. So after the long fifteen minutes wait, he comes. You could just stare at his face. A yellow corduroy shirt and brown pants. Face just washed, fresh from sleep. There he was in all his glory. We exchanged a few pleasantries and took photographs. Since my husband and I were completely out of words, he suggested where to stand and asked one of his friends to take the picture. He posed and we clicked away. My mother told him that her favorite character was Vinod, from Thalavattam.
We offered our thanks, goodbye and left.
It may not be a big deal to meet a movie star today, but that conversation on that beautiful October morning is a treasured memory and the conversation of a lifetime.
There is no one movie that a Mohanlal fan can pick and say that that is his or her favorite. There are just way too many because he has been a son, a father, a teacher, a doctor, a lover the list is endless. My most favorite character still remains the first time I fell in love with his magnanimous charisma, when I watched Bharatham.
Mohanlal is Mohanlal is Mohanlal.. period! And I love him, period.