Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Interview With Mohanlal

Mohanlal one of the born actor in Malayalam film industry answers every question with a smile

Q: This year marks the 25th year of your association with films. How have your evolved as an actor and as a person during this time?

Mohanlal: Twenty five years in a profession is something very difficult, especially in an entertainment industry like cinema. So I should thank all my people who have accepted me as an actor. I think the credit goes to them. I am just doing my duty. It's my social commitment as an actor to perform the role and to do justice to it. And if I am appreciated by those people, I should say thanks to them for keeping me in this industry for the last 25 years. So I am nothing .... I am nobody!

And as a person .... well, I started my career at the age of 17. Now I am 43. So, in the 250 films, I have travelled not only physically, but also through a lot of minds.

Q: A spiritual journey, you mean?

Mohanlal: Yeah, of course. And I have met a lot of people and I can call each of them my Guru. I am still heading towards my destination, though I don't know where. But these people are carrying me, or unknown energies are carrying me as a person. I line in the present, and I celebrate every moment of my life. For example, right now, I am enjoying the conversation with you.

Q: You have said that you had never thought of becoming an actor. What prompted you to take up your first film,Thiranottam, which, incidentally, never saw the light of day?

Mohanlal: When I was in Class 6, I became the best actor in my school. When I was in Class 10 ... pre-degree, I was the best actor in my college. Some of my friends asked me, 'Can we do a film?' So I said, 'Yes!' I call it as an accidental co-incidence or a happening. So it's still happening. (laughs)

Q: You started your mainstream career with a negative role. Were you not worried that you would be categorised as a villain?

Mohanlal: I don't think there is a kind of stamping in films, especially in South India. But for an actor to get good roles, to get chances to get associated with good directors, to have good colleagues, to get good stories .... I can call it an element of luck. There is a hidden luck. I don't know how I can explain it to you. I have got the best of characters, best of directors, best of colleagues, best stories .... There are many actors who don't have a chance to expose themselves as good actors because of lack of all these things. But fortunately, I am blessed with all these. That's why I said, I am the chosen one, that unknown energies are helping me.

Q: You seem to believe a lot in destiny and fate.

Mohanlal: Well, I wouldn't call it fate. its not destiny. It's a happening.

Q: You have maintained that you like comic roles the best, though most of your award-winning films have seen you playing intense roles. your comment?

Mohanlal: Actually, to make somebody laugh, to make somebody cry, to make somebody comfortable is a big task. So again it's not me. It is, with the help of the script, with the help of colleagues, with the help of the directors that I am moulded into that character. I am not the only performer. The ambience is there, there are a lot of characters. So, with their help, I am succeeding in those roles. I have done intense roles, I have done comical roles. I have done buffoonery. I have done a lot of flop films. Yes! It is not my mistake. it is the mistake of the totality (chuckles). So if I win for a role, and if the film is a big hit, I can share it with everybody. And if it is a flop, I want to share it with everybody, even with the audience.

Q: Your mother said in an interview that she likes to see you only in comic roles. Any reason?

Mohanlal: You know, all mothers ... they want their children to be happy (Laughs). They don't want to see their children crying, getting beaten up by the villain, It's not only my mother even your mother will want that (Laughs).

Q: Some of your most acclaimed films are the ones you have produced yourself. How and why did you venture into film production?

Mohanlal: It is a thought process to create good films. So, if you want to do different things, you better do it with your own intelligence and with your own money. So I started my production company and I think most of my films have done very well, that is, in an artistic manner, not in the monetary manner!

Q: Your debut venture in Bollywood with the multi-lingual Kalapani, failed to arouse audience interest, though it fetched five national awards. Did you dub it in Hindi with an intention of getting into blockbuster films in Bollywood?

Mohanlal: It is a Malayalam film. We dubbed it in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. So, there wasn't any intention like that at that time.

Q: You won the Best Supporting Actor award for Company. How did Ram Gopal Varma convince you to do the role?

Mohanlal: Actually, we planned a film long back. He (Ram Gopal Varma) first came to me with a Telugu film. For Company, he took may be half an hour! He narrated the story, and it was an irresistible offer. He just narrated the script, and that's it.

Q: Do you have offers to do more Hindi films?

Mohanlal: Not many. Actually, I don't want to do Hindi films. They are not my cup of tea. I have done a Tamil film called Iruvar. People say I portrayed the role of MGR and it was o convincing. It was an irresistible offer from Mani Ratnam. It was Aishwarya Rai's first film. But that was not the attraction, okay? (Laughs) But see, if a director can convince an actor, and if the story is good, it's enough for the actor to do the film.

Q: You played Karna in a Sanskrit play, Karnabharam. How did you manage a Sanskrit play?

Mohanlal: It was a request from the National School of Drama. it was an honour for me. It was actually an English play. Then it changed to Malayalam and ended up in Sanskrit. I have done two shows in Delhi and Mumbai each. It was an amazing experience, simply because I don't know Sanskrit. an two hours of Sanskrit! I really think I am the first Indian film actor to do a Sanskrit play.

Q: You have opened your first restaurant in Dubai. How did that happen?

Mohanlal: It was my dream to have good restaurants. I love food and I love to cater to people who love good food. It is again like acting or watching a film, or watching dance. You should have a respect for food. I want to share it with my fans. it is not only for the Kerala people. it is for the world. Because of my being a film personality, people will get curious about it. If I succeed, I can bring lot of products from Kerala. it is an expansion for the culture of Kerala.

Q: Director Priyadarshan rates you as the best actor in the world. Mani Ratnam says you are the most natural actor in India. During the shooting of Vanaprastham, a French Technician said that you were born in the wrong side of the world. if you were to be born in some other country, you may have already got the Oscar. Of the people who has given you the best compliment?

Mohanlal: Very interesting question. When I am walking on a street, or I am in a supermarket, and I see a two-year old child recognising me and saying 'Mohanlal', that's a complement. I have wanted it, and I have got it.

Q: Do you think you still have something to achieve as an actor?

Mohanlal: You can't point out the saturation point for a particular thing. So whatever time God permits me, whatever time my physical conditions permits me, whatever time my audience permits me. I will continue to act. After that, I will react.

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Malayalam Actress, Bollywood Actress, Hollywood Actress, Indian film


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