August 26, 2008
Mohanlal Talks About Bollywood
By SHARIN WADER
Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan can fight for their share of the Chennai pie, but in Kochi, there is nobody to challenge Mohan Lal.
In this backwater city of Kerala, the Southie superstar is King. And everywhere in Kochi, there are kingsize posters of Mohan Lal whose new film Aakashgopuram is drawing in fans from all corners of the state. BT met the people's hero in Kochi itself. Mohan Lal, who has settled down in Dubai, came dressed simply in a polka dotted shirt and white pants. He is the most down-to-earth superstar of Indian cinema.
And he was unaccompanied by bodyguards. Score a brownie point to him for that! "Mumbai is a good market for Malayalam films and so is Delhi and Bangalore, that's why we are releasing in the metros," he started off by saying. Bangalore, of course, must revere him, but Mohan Lal is known in Mumbai also, he's done a few films for Bollywood. "After Company, I got many offers, but right now I'm not accepting any, simply because I don't have the time. There are too many assignments to complete down here. I need to finish prior commitments," admitted Mohan Lal. Is their film industry any different from Bollywood? He shrugged huge shoulders, "I know it's said that the South film industry is more disciplined. But if we are disciplined and have a set working pattern, then so does Bollywood."
However, even he had to agree, there is a huge divide in the audiences' definition of a male superstar in Kochi and Mumbai. Bollywood can keep its six-pack abs and well-toned bodies, down South the moustache still works for them! "I know it's a craze in Bollywood to have six-pack abs, but here it's not the abs or the muscles that make us feel or look macho. We haven't changed much from what our previous generation of actors looked like. We still follow their style. I think it's genetic and we will continue to remain like this," smiled the actor.
In Aakashgopuram, Mohan Lal plays a famous architect who feels threatened by young budding talent. In reality, however, he remains the undisputed king of this industry in Kerala. "I'm just grateful to my fans," he said modestly leaping up to take a flight back home, his hands reaching for luggage that he was carrying himself. Score a second brownie point.
(c) 2008 The Times of India. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.