190828 Mohanlal
Mohanlal Image Credit: Gulf News archives

It’s a muted birthday celebration for Malayalam superstar Mohanlal who turns 60 on May 21 amid the coronavirus outbreak in India.

But social distancing hasn’t stopped his fans and his colleagues from giving a big shout to the actor, who is one of Kerala’s long-enduring idols having acted in more than 300 films over four decades.

His command over his craft makes other acting legends like Kamal Haasan admit that he has always been “envious” about his constant quality of his work.

Younger actors like Dulquer Salmaan and Nivin Pauly posted warm and fuzzy messages for the actor. Salmaan, the son of Mammootty, posted an iconic still from Mohanlal’s 1986 progressive romance ‘Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal’. In that seminal blockbuster Mohanlal played the dishy Solomon who supports his girlfriend and rape survivor Sofia (Shari).

Actor Mammootty also posted a video along with images of them both on Mohanlal’s birthday.

“He’s like my brother and when he calls me ‘ichikka’ [brother], it fills me with incredible happiness and warmth … Both of us have excelled in our crafts and we have seen a lot of highs and lows together. Our journey together has been a combined one … He was a part of my daughter’s wedding like a family member. Let’s continue this journey together and here’s wishing my brother a happy birthday,” said Mammootty in Malayalam.

To mark his special day, Mohanlal penned a lengthy post titled ‘Real or just an imagination?’ in Malayalam on his blog.

“When I look back on my journey, I can’t believe that I am here and I can’t help but think about the hard work and support from others. Our collective victories and failures have led me to reach this point. My eyes fill with tears when I think about the support and my heart fills with gratitude,” Mohanlal wrote on his blog.

“Both me and this world seems to be at crossroads today … It could be coincidence, but my whole life has been one big coincidence,” said Mohanlal, who wasn’t born into an acting dynasty. His success has stemmed from his own body of good work.

Apart from making his mark in blockbusters such as ‘Manichitrathazhu’, ‘Drishyam’ or ‘Chitram’, the actor has grabbed headlines over the years for a variety reasons.

190326 Mohanlal.
Mohanlal Image Credit: Supplied

In an interview with Gulf News in November 2018, Mohanlal labelled the rousing #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment in the film industry as a short-lived ‘fad’.

“There’s no big problem in the Malayalam industry … You shouldn’t think of the #MeToo as a movement actually. It’s a fad and it’s turning into something of a fashion. Anything like that will have a lifespan for a bit,” said Mohanlal at a press conference in Dubai. “It [sexual misconduct] can happen anywhere in life, not just in films,” said Mohanlal. In an interview with tabloid a few minutes later, the actor claimed he didn’t know much about the #MeToo movement to be an authority on that subject.

The actor, who owned a home in the plush Burj Khalifa residences, is no stranger to the UAE. He has filmed several ambitious projects in this region including ‘Casanova’.