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UAE nurses received a surprise call from Indian superstar Mohanlal: The star made surprise calls to a dozen or more UAE nurses to thank them for their services. He called them directly and thanked them for their efforts to combat the coronavirus. “It is our responsibility that we thank them for their commitment and sacrifices. We all should be grateful to them and pray for their good health,” said Mohanlal, adding that the UAE is his second home.
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Coronavirus myths: The Malayalam superstar believed that collective clapping can kill the coronavirus and his questionable belief unleashed a barrage of criticism against the actor. The online meme madness began after Mohanlal, who has thrived in Malayalam cinema for several decades, in a televised interview with Manorama news channel claimed that collective clapping is a viral antidote. “Clapping together is a big process. The sound produced is like a mantram (chant) and there is a possibility that many bacteria and virus is likely to be destroyed. Let it all get destroyed … Sanitisation is something that should be learnt in schools and colleges and not observed for just one day.” On March 22, under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directive, billions in India clapped at a designated time from their balconies to show support for the medical staff and others who are tirelessly working during the coronavirus spread.
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Mohanlal’s problematic take on #MeToo: 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.
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Mohanlal’s stellar acts in films like ‘Lucifer’: Directed by Prithviraj, ‘Lucifer’, one of Malayalam top grossers in 2019, showcased Mohanlal as this larger-than-life, all-conquering hero. For all those who love watching him in that avatar, ‘Lucifer’ will whet your appetite. But if you are in the mood for something lighter, his blockbusters from the 1990s like ‘Chitram’, ‘Nadodi Kaatu’ and ‘Vandanam’ will underline his impeccable comic timing. His chemistry with other character actors like Jagathy and Srinivasan is also what made his films tick. His turn in ‘Drishyam’ as an average, middle-class father trying to cover up a murder is also a fine example of his mastery over acting. He makes acting look effortless and that’s one of the biggest draws on Mohanlal.
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Mohanlal’s close connect with the UAE: 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’ Last year, in a pioneering initiative to promote people-to-people relations between the UAE and India, he took the lead to celebrate UAE’s National Day. Mohanlal led the celebrations on December 2 near the city of Coimbatore in South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The theme of the celebrations was be ‘Big Salute to UAE: the land of happiness, opportunity and tolerance’.
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Environmental backlash: 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 last 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. 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.
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