Dubai: Malayalam superstar Mohanlal’s intentions may have been noble when he posted a video message about the urgency in conserving environment following the devastating floods in Kerala this year, but many have called out the award-winning actor and entrepreneur for his ‘double standards’.
“Lalettan, you have flattened hills to build your complexes, flattened rice fields for your numerous commercial enterprises, you place ivory tusks under your bed … Should we pretend that mothernature gifted you all this bounty for your impressive acting skills? Your concerns feel displaced and fake,” said a user on his blog.
On August 21, the prolific star posted an emotionally-charged message about conserving environment as Kerala faced catastrophic flooding for a second year in a row in 2019.
“Last year, when floods lashed out in Kerala we thought it was an isolated incident. When sun shone again, we forgot about the floods and continued with our land mining and rock explosions … Even if we forget, mother nature hasn’t forgotten … Let’s love nature again,” warned Mohanlal. Adopting a cautionary tone, he even took the example of Orissa which has dealt with floods and casualty impressively.
“In Orissa, 10,000 lives were lost in the 1999 floods. However, only 25 died when the floods hit again in 2003. This could be possible due to their prudent planning. If Orissa can do it why can’t Kerala?” asked Mohanlal.
Another user Shahn Shanav, asked him if advocating environmental protection as he sits in ‘his palatial mansion lined with teak and ivory tusks on his wall didn’t reek of duplicity.
In 2016, it was reported that the actor got special permission from Union Ministry Of Envrioment and Forests to keep a pair of elephant tusks in his home, which comes under contraband wildlife product. The tusks, which have reportedly been returned to the Wildlife department, was recovered by the Income Tax department during a tax raid in the actor’s residence in Kochi in July 2011.
Mohd Bilal even pointed out that Mohanal’s commercial buildings in Thodupuzha was the result of a hill being flattened by rock explosions and didn’t exactly suggest prudent sustainability measures.
“They flattened a hill so that your Aashirvad cineplex could be built. We saw rocks being exploded and hills lined with trees being flattened to make way for your buildings. So where were your concerns then?” asked Bilal.
Another social media user Vipin Raj claimed it’s difficult to take Mohanlal’s concerns seriously. The actor, who has starred in hits including the recent gangster flick Lucifer, has built his own business empire comprising cinemas halls, restaurants and boutiques. He’s a partner in Aashirvad Cineplex, a multiplex theatre complex in Thodupuzha and Perumbavoor.
“You have your own buildings across Kerala, so don’t you have any shame when propagating environmental concerns when sustainability studies were thwarted when you were building all of those high-rises,” said Raj. A meme featuring a comic clip from the hit comedy Kumbalangi Nights about “overacting and showmanship” also did the rounds.
It isn’t all bad for Mohanlal though. A section of his ardent fans have hailed the actor for taking up such a worthy cause.
It isn’t the first time that Mohanlal has been at the receiving end of trolling. In a controversial interview with Gulf News last year, the actor compared the #MeToo movement to “fad”.