Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Touching on all Aspects of Life

The Malayalam superstar's posts have been collected in the book, 'Mohanlal – An Actor's Blog Book'

By Shevlin Sebastian

On March 15, 2010, Mohanlal went to Mumbai, along with Mollywood film director, Major Ravi, to meet Amitabh Bachchan. As soon as the Bollywood legend saw Mohanlal, he said, “You are a Padma Shri, a Lieutenant Colonel and now a D.Litt as well. What else do you wish?”

Mohanlal did have a simple wish. He wanted Bachchan to act in a Malayalam film, 'Kandahar', which he was producing. After hearing the script, Bachchan agreed. When Mohanlal took out a cheque to give to Bachchan, the latter said, “Mohanlal, I am acting in this film for you, and not for any money. I like the actor in you so much.”

This is part of a post from the blog, 'Complete Actor', which Mohanlal has been writing for the past four years. Several of these posts were collected and brought out in a Malayalam book, 'Hridayathinte Kayyoppu' (The Heart's Signature) in June, 2012. Not surprisingly, it became a best-seller.

Now, an English version, 'Mohanlal – An Actor's Blog Book', with an introduction by writer Anita Nair, has been brought out by Mathrubhumi Books. The 104-page book, which is translated by Dr. KP Premkumar, has 38 posts, written between 2009 and 2012.

Most of the posts are only two to three pages long. However, the subjects are varied: God, the Indian Army, theatre, the Malayali psyche, mobile phones, the trauma of old age, death, road safety, denuded forests, blood donation, schooldays, friendship, terrorism, and the loss of privacy.

The lack of privacy is something the superstar endures all the time. During a trip to north Kerala, Mohanlal estimates that more than a thousand photos of his were taken, mostly on cell phone cameras. “Each and every moment is being recorded,” writes Mohanlal. “That too, unmindful of all courtesies. Some guys dash towards us, put their arms around our shoulders, click their own cameras, with the left hand, check the preview, and dash out.”

This is a rare post that reveals Mohanlal's irritation. Most of the time, like a true artiste, he writes with a mix of sensitivity and toughness. Here is an example: “We emerge when our father merges with our mother. We toddle within the halo of their love and care. By the time we grow up, as high as the skies, they are exhausted and dream of relaxing in our shade. But what do we do? We shove them into lonely old-age homes. What else is crueller than this?”

The posts make clear that Mohanlal has a rich inner life. And this is a remarkable feat, considering that he has been lionised by Malayalis for three decades now. He could have easily become arrogant and pompous, and lost his equilibrium.

After reading this book, we could try to live life the way Mohanlal does: “I too have a mind that reaches out and relates with the world around me. Like a piece of blotting paper, it absorbs and keeps abreast of every pleasing scene, every marvellous move. In a language with no sounds, I talk with rivers, flowers, fluttering winds, rippling waters, surging seas, setting suns....it renews and rejuvenates me; turns me creative. It keeps me never far from love.” 

(Sunday Magazine, The New Indian Express, South India and Delhi)

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