Those Magical 'Mohanlal' Moments
When someone decided to make a list of '50+ things only a Proud Mallu will understand' that went viral, the first in the list was a photo of Mohanlal with the caption - 'This man is part of your daily life. Literally'. That just beautifully sums up it all. From a career that has entertained , enlightened and amazed us for last 36 years, here's a look back at some of the magical acting moments - my most favorite ones.
16. COMPANY - The interrogation Scene
Its quite amazing how Ram Gopal Varma, having watched only one movie (Vandanam) of Mohanlal , still so rightly chose the actor for the role of Srinivasan IPS in Company. Mohanlal's calm , composed and dignified persona fitted the character to a T and you would easily forget the fact that the actor did not have much command over the language.The result was perhaps his best portrayal of a police officer ever. A particularly memorable scene is the one where Ajay Devgan and his gang is brought for interrogation in his office and where Mohanlal just plays with a tiny showpiece in his hand while keeping everyone on their toes with his questions.
15.SUMMER IN BETHLEHEM - The Stunning Cameo As Niranjan
'Naalu vayassukaariyaya ayalude makalude attu poya kunjikkai ente dehathaanu vannu veenathu. Aaa kaiviralukal appozhum chalikunundaayirunu.Entho thirayunna pole. Enthu nedi.Ethu lakshyathil ethi... '....... The first few days' viewers of Summer in Bethlehem were in for a huge surprise as they found the man whom Aami loved and for whom she was willing to give away her life was none other than Mohanlal. Well I cant tell for sure that it is the best ever guest appearance in Malayalam but it is definitely tough to find ones that match up to Mohanlal's terrific cameo as Niranjan and create a big impact with such a limited screen time. With only 8.5 minutes on screen , Mohanlal almost threatened to steal the whole show and walk away with the entire movie .The only reason that he did not do that is Suresh Gopi, Jayaram, Vidyasagar and especially Manju Warrier all put their best feet forward perhaps knowing that there is this man who appears at the end and what he is capable of even if only given few minutes.
14. RAJAVINTE MAKAN - Vincent Gomas's Visit to Nancy's House and the iconic 'My number is 2255'
Mohanlal was just 26 when he did Rajavinte Makan but he displayed amazing maturity and elan when he became every bit of the underworld don 'Vincent Gomas' with his sound modulation ,body language and gestures all strikingly different from the other movies that he did around the same time. My favorite scene from the movie is where Vincent Gomas visits Nancy's house for the first time, tells the iconic 'My number is 2255' and writes it down on a calendar. A one-liner that went on to become such immensely popular than perhaps its makers even dreamt of, also marked the arrival of Mohanlal-"The Superstar".
13. DEVASURAM -When Neelakandan makes Bhanumathi dance in his house
He had been quite lovable in numerous movies - that's not news. But what's striking is how Mohanlal could be also equally venomous on-screen and how he could make us all despise him so easily . Though he has done many negative characters in early part of his career, the one which still gives me chills is his devilish portrayal of Mangalassery Neelakandan in the first half of Devasuram. Especially in the scene where he makes Revathi dance in front of him and his friends, it requires guts to say lines like 'Vayya ennu nee parayilla .. paranjaal nritham matramaavilla njan ninne kondu cheyyikkukka' considering that he was at the peak of his career then with immense fan following among the ladies and families .But Mohanlal had never been the kind to stay afraid.
12.TWENTY20 Interval Sequence
There are scenes that gave you the goosebumps the first time you watched them because they caught you completely unaware and there are scenes that are so electrifying that they continue to give you the goosebumps just about every time you watch it. Twenty 20's interval sequence where Mohanlal transforms from the meek Devan to the mighty Deva Raja Prathapa Varma belongs to this second category. Before the movie release, Mohanlal fans were furiated as their favorite actor was sidelined in the posters and their patience was further tested when Mohanlal was introduced late into the movie and still remained subdued in the shadow of Mammootty. Things changed big time though few minutes away from the interval when Mohanlal comes out of the court barefoot. Four guys arrive the scene, one of them lays down him sandals and when Mohanlal wears it in slow motion, the music in the background changes. Another guy hands Mohanlal an expensive watch and he rolls up his sleeves .Wait, it still doesn't end there. As he walks now with his men behind , he takes and folds his mundu in his trademark style and I remember how the entire theater where I watched the movie went frenzy !
11 & 10 - SANMANASSULLAVARKU SAMADHANAM ( "Nee ithrayum bayankaranaaya vivaram njan arinjilla" ) and KILUKKAM ("Vattanalle")...The one-liners that stole the show from the co-actors
Its a gift, an amazing one, to allow your co-actor to shine in the screen for a good amount of time and then just come at the end and win equal applause or even steal the show with only a single line or a word. I cannot help but club these scenes of Sanmanasullavarku samadhanam and Kilukkam because they are so much similar. In one, Revathi had given a very detailed account of what she had in the hotel and in the other, Sreenivasan had boasted in length about his daring stories as police officer. But at the end of it , this man just comes in, tells his one-liner with an innocent expression and a tone that just about overshadows what the others had done till then.
9. CHITHRAM- 'Enne Kollathirikkan Pattumo'
8. T.P.BALAGOPALAN M.A - When Balagoplan sends off his sister after her marriage.
'Mohanlal -Sreenivasan -Sathyan Anthikad '- The combo that has given us so many classics started their journey with this movie. In a beautifully acted scene , Mohanlal calls his sister to his room after her marriage and tells her - 'Ninte kalyanam inganeyonnumalla njan nadathaan vicharichirunnathu' .He then hands her over a 50 rupee note to buy any small items on her own. 6 years after his debut, it was finally time that we saw the real talented side of Mohanlal and the start of a subtle ,restrained and much more natural method of acting seldom seen in Malayalam before. Mohanlal won a well deserved state award for T.P. Balagopalan M.A , his first one, at the age of 26 and held the record for the youngest actor to do so for 20 years.
7. NADODIKKATTU - When Dasan returns to Radha's house asking for more items
Nadodikkattu is 158 minutes of non-stop fun and personally my favorite comedy in Malayalam. Amidst such popular one-liners like 'Dasa etha ee alavalathi' , 'angane pavanazhi shavamaayi' ,'entha dasa namuku ee budhi thonnathirunne' ,there was also this one scene sans any main dialogues which is still hugely memorable purely because of this actor's remarkable skills at handling comedy .Daasan doesn't have a job and is in poverty yet he is too proud to ask anything directly from his neighbors. What this paves way is for a terrific scene as he makes lame excuses and keeps visiting Shobhana's house asking for more items. Mohanlal is at his natural best as he tries to hide his uneasiness and embarrassment in front of Meena and Shobhana through a smile that I wonder if any other actor could re-produce in the same awesome manner! A lot of actors depend on slapstick situations or well written lines to evoke laughs but all Mohanlal needs is the expressions on his face to makes us laugh anytime we re-visit the scene.
6. NAMUKKU PARKKAN MUNTHIRI THOPPUKAL - The Proposal Scene
'Solomonte song of songsil parayunna pole namukku gramangalil chennu rapaarkam , athikalathu munthirithoppukalil poyi munthirivalli thalirthu poovidukayum mathalanarakam pookukkayum cheytho ennu nokkaam...' Solomon tells Sofia this and asks her to go and check Bible for the rest of the lines. A proposal scene in Malayalam Cinema has never been so beautiful before or after .It had Padmarajan's expertise that added a poetic touch to his scenes, his perfect choice of the beautiful locations in Mysore and Johnson's heavenly background score .Above all, it had Mohanlal. The actor had always looked so original when he romanced on-screen and the only reason we did not give him the 'King of Romance' tag was because he handled any other genre equally well as romance.
5. PATTANAPRAVESHAM - The Restaurant Scene
If Malayalam ever had its version of Pushpaka Vimana (Kamal Haasan's famous silent film) , Mohanlal would have pulled it off completely. The two and half minute restaurant sequence in Pattanapravesham where Daasan tries to pull blood from his suspect is the ample proof for that. The surprised face as Balakrishnan orders 20 chappathis and 4 chilly chicken ,the fear and anxiety as he pulls his chair close to his suspect ,the cunning look as he rolls his eyes around while fitting the syringe ,the delight when he thinks he had injected the syringe and pulled the blood, finally the shock to find no blood in syringe - all expressions flash in Mohanlal's face within the gap of just seconds. To add to all that ,the downright hilarious tone in which he says only dialogue in this scene -'Yes Omelette yes' - I never get tired of watching this scene !
Mohanlal 's performance as Sethumadhavan is an instance as perfect as you could ever see an actor infuse life into the character he portrays .The scenes like where he leave his houses telling his mother that he is losing the grip on his life, where he hits Jose's goon and screams he want to live and the entire terrific climax are testimonials to the level of commitment and dedication with which the actor approaches his roles. The intensity the actor maintains throughout the final moments of the movie in the market is simply impeccable .If the manner in which he just chews while waving the knife at police is an example of the minute details he brings on-screen to improvise upon and make the character look so real, his final loud cry out to the sky is a movie frame that's engraved in our minds forever !
3. DASHARATHAM Climax
Tamil star Surya once told in a talk show that during his early days as an actor, his biggest challenge was not knowing how to use his hands in each scenes, when to let them free and when to put them in pockets. That's when he watched closely how Mohanlal acted in his movies and found that Mohanlal's hands, arms and his entire body flow like music. He then added -'Mohanlal sir's fingers and even finger nails can act'. In Dasharatham's climax as Mohanlal rests his hand on Sukumari's shoulder and tells her -" Annie mone snehikunna pole Maggieku enne snehikaamo' ,watch his fingers and you would know what Surya is talking about. Dasharatham's climax is one we all re-visit often despite knowing that it would end us up only in tears because very very rarely you see something else that beats the performance of the leading actor in the final moments of this movie.
2. IRUVAR - When Anandan meets the director after his first movie is shelved
A number of top directors in Malayalam believe that it was Mani Ratnam who extracted the best performance ever by Mohanlal during his first Tamil movie. Its quite amazing how the same man who played the egotistical unabashed landlord brilliantly in Devasuram could also be molded so effortlessly to the unassuming modest Anandan in Iruvar. In a brilliantly acted scene, Anandan confronts the director after his first movie is shelved and tries his best to convince him to resume the movie. As the latter replies it is not possible, Anandan is heartbroken. Yet amidst the grief, he bids goodbye to the director and tells him he would never forget him in his life. There is no overburst yet Mohanlal's eyes speak volumes about his pain . It remains a mystery to me why Mohanlal did not win that year's National or State awards for Iruvar
1. BHARATHAM - The Police Station Scene
Murali asks Mohanlal to keep calm even if the news is bad as he is waiting in the station to identify the photos and clothes of the dead person. When the belongings are brought in front of him and he recognizes that its his brother who is dead, he brings it close to his face slowly and cries silently. No words are spoken in those two and half minutes by the character. No sound is let out when he cries .Yet what transpires in front of you pierces deep through your heart. And that ladies and gentleman is my most favorite acting moment by Mohanlal ever ! Having turned down a stunning act in Kireedom 2 years back , the nation did not close its eyes this time. Mohanlal's performance in the movie and especially the above scene was rewarded with a well deserved National award
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