Mohanlal Image Credit: PTI

Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, who recently spearheaded an inspiring music video welcoming Kerala expatriates back to their native state due to coronavirus outbreak, believes that we are all living in strange times.

Mohanlal, the long-enduring matinee idol, has no answers but he isn’t letting the unpredictability unleashed by the global pandemic ruin his present.

“We are not in this alone,” claims Mohanlal.

“We don’t know where this global situation is going. We are mere spectators who are mutely witnessing what is happening around us. We don’t have all the answers, but there’s no point worrying about what is beyond our control,” said Mohanlal in Malayalam in an interview with Gulf News over the phone from his residence in Chennai.

The actor, who recently turned 60 and skipped a high-profile celebration owing to the social distancing rules, prefers to use his COVID-19 lockdown time constructively and to inspire those in distress.

181208 mohanlal 2
Manju Warrier and Mohanlal. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

The actor has joined hands with stars such as Manju Warrier, Manoj K Jayan, Remya Nambeesan and singer KS Chitra to put together an upbeat song ‘It’s Time for Kerala’. The star-studded video with Mohanlal’s voice-over urging all Malayalis to welcome expatriates back to their native soil is a mammoth hit among Keralites.

“There were many minds at work for our latest COVID-19 music video. It’s a major thing because it is our tribute to all those living in foreign lands who helped us build our economy in Kerala. Their return is a big challenge for them. They all want to eventually return to their work places and they are worried for all the right reasons, but this is our morale-boosting attempt. They need such a boost morale-wise,” said Mohanlal.

He also pointed out that the initiative was his way of paying it forward to all those living in the UAE, a country that he considers his second home.

“When there’s panic, it’s our duty and obligation to extend our help. I feel so lucky and blessed that I could participate in such an initiative… I have a deep adoration for the UAE and the city of Dubai. I have lived and visited there often in the last 38 years. I feel a deep connect to a country like UAE which is only three and a half hours away from Kerala. Those precious memories compels me to help those in distress,” said Mohalal.

However, the actor believes that the worst is not yet behind them.

Despite Kerala being hailed as a model state in India for tackling the COVID-19 outbreak efficiently, the actor claims the next few months can be equally testing.

“We are a small state with great medical and education know-how. The outbreak of Nipah virus helped us gear up and protect our state. We now have to brace ourselves for the rain. The rain could bring its own flood of diseases and deluge of water. There is also people coming from outside into Kerala, so it’s all a major challenge for Kerala. We need to be prepared.”

Asked if he is going to charter private planes from the UAE to help bring back stranded Malayalis into Kerala, Mohanlal categorically denied making such plans.

“I don’t intent to charter flights as there are a lot of formalities involved. I can’t do it as an individual … There are many laws and protocols in place. I will try to do things in a smaller way … My attempt is to help in whatever small way I can,” said Mohanlal.

The actor is currently at his home in Chennai and is worried for his mother who lives in Kochi.

She is ailing, but he speaks to her on Zoom regularly, said the actor.

“But since I cannot travel, there’s no point feeling bad about it. I have to live with the reality that I can’t visit her … It’s the first time in 40 years that I have stayed home this long. But I am trying to help and motivate all those through my blogs and some motivating videos. Our new song is a small way to inspire everyone who are coming back home.”