Mohanlal Viswanathan, known mononymously as Mohanlal, is an Indian actor, film producer, playback singer, film distributor, and director who predominantly works in Malayalam cinema besides having sporadically appeared in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada-language films.
93 Facts About Mohanlal
Mohanlal has a prolific career spanning over four decades, during which he has acted in more than 400 films.
Mohanlal was named as one of "the men who changed the face of the Indian Cinema" by CNN-News18.
Mohanlal made his acting debut at age 18 in the Malayalam film Thiranottam in 1978, but the film was delayed in its release for 25 years due to censorship issues.
Mohanlal continued to do villainous roles and rose to secondary lead roles in the following years.
Mohanlal prefers to work in Malayalam films, but he has appeared in some of Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films.
Mohanlal received honorary doctorates from Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in 2010 and the University of Calicut in 2018.
Mohanlal founded the ViswaSanthi Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization that was started to create and deliver high-impact and focused programs to the underprivileged sections of society in the areas of Healthcare and Education.
Mohanlal Viswanathan was born in the village of Elanthoor in the Pathanamthitta district, Kerala on 21 May 1960.
Mohanlal is the youngest child of Viswanathan Nair, a former bureaucrat and Law Secretary with the Kerala government, and Santhakumari.
Mohanlal was named by his maternal uncle Gopinathan Nair, who initially decided to name him Roshanlal before choosing "Mohanlal".
Mohanlal's father was adamant that he should not bear their caste name as surname which they all had.
Mohanlal grew up in Mudavanmugal at his paternal home in Thiruvananthapuram.
Mohanlal studied at Government Model Boys Higher Secondary School, Thiruvananthapuram and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Mahatma Gandhi College, Thiruvananthapuram.
Mohanlal's friends had sent his application in response to an advertisement released by Navodaya Studio.
Mohanlal auditioned for the role in front of a panel that included professional directors.
Mohanlal's acclaimed negative roles include Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu and Kuyiline Thedi.
Mohanlal played his first comic lead role in an ensemble cast in the 1984 comedy Poochakkoru Mookkuthi, directed by Priyadarshan, as a young man in love with a girl whom he mistakenly believes to be rich.
Mohanlal portrayed an unemployed young man who shoulders the responsibility of his family.
Mohanlal was given the status of a new Malayalam superstar by the public after the box office success of Rajavinte Makan, in which he played an underworld don, Vincent Gomez.
Mohanlal starred in the tragedy Thalavattom, playing Vinod, a young man who becomes mentally ill upon witnessing his girlfriend's death.
Mohanlal won a Kerala State Special Jury Award in 1988 for his acting in Padamudra, Aryan, Vellanakalude Nadu, Ulsavapittennu and Chithram.
Mohanlal bought a bus, which eventually gets him into trouble.
Mohanlal appeared in Bharathan's Thazhvaram in 1990, as a widower seeking revenge for the murder of his wife by his most trusted friend.
In 1991, Mohanlal produced and starred in Bharatham, which is interpreted as a modern-day adaptation of the Ramayana from Bharath's perspective.
Mohanlal took help from his choreographer and his co-actors and professional dancers Vineeth and Monisha for enacting the dance scenes.
In 1994, Mohanlal starred in the lead role as Dr Sunny Joseph in the Fazil-directed cult classic Manichitrathazhu, as a psychiatrist.
In 1996, Mohanlal starred in Priyadarshan's Kaalapani, an epic film about the prisoners in the Cellular Jail of Port Blair and Lohithadas's Kanmadam.
Mohanlal played the lead role in Guru, directed by Rajiv Anchal in 1997.
Mohanlal acted in his first non-Malayalam film in 1997, in the Tamil biographical film Iruvar, directed by Mani Ratnam.
The film, in which Mohanlal depicted an actor who turns to politics, was a critical success and won many awards including the Best Film award at the Belgrade International Film Festival and two National Film Awards.
Mohanlal depicted a Kathakali artist whose personal life is a tragedy in the 1999 Indo-French period drama Vanaprastham, produced by him and directed by Shaji N Karun.
In 2000, Mohanlal starred in Narasimham, playing a rogue with a good heart.
In 2002, Mohanlal played Sreenivasan IPS, a Mumbai police officer, in his first Bollywood film Company, which introduced him to the Hindi-speaking audience in India and for which he won the International Indian Film Academy Awards and Star Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Mohanlal was No 1 in the audiences' list and maintained No 6 in the critics' list.
Mohanlal played Athanipparambil Balachandran, a bank employee always willing to lend a helping hand to others, who is forced to hide many secrets after his father's death leading to his family's mistrust.
Mohanlal appeared in the 2005 black comedy Udayananu Tharam as an aspiring film director.
The film received positive reviews and Mohanlal's performance was highly praised by critics.
Mohanlal won his fifth Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor and seventh Filmfare Award for Best Actor for his performance.
Mohanlal acted in Kirtichakra, by director Major Ravi, in which he plays an Indian Army officer, Major Mahadevan.
In 2008, Mohanlal did the lead role in the multi-starrer blockbuster Twenty:20 and in 2009, he co-starred with Kamal Haasan in the Tamil film Unnaipol Oruvan.
Mohanlal reprised the role of Major Mahadevan in the film.
Mohanlal's Vishu release was China Town, another multi-starrer in which he co-starred with Jayaram and Dileep, which was a comedy film directed by Rafi Mecartin.
Mohanlal's last movie that year was Oru Marubhoomikkadha, directed by Priyadarshan, which was an action comedy thriller entirely set in the Middle East.
Mohanlal's well-tempered, calm and subdued acting was appreciated by the critics.
Mohanlal appeared in an extended cameo role in his next film Koothara, directed by Srinath Rajendran, a coming-of-age mystery film set in an untold period.
Mohanlal played a mysterious character in the experimental film, who at the end of the film revealed himself as a merman.
Mohanlal's next was the comical political satire film Peruchazhi, written and directed by Arun Vaidyanathan.
Mohanlal played a young political kingmaker who is assigned to make a candidate for governor win the California state gubernatorial elections, where he uses standard Indian political gimmicks to win the election in the USA.
Mohanlal's following release was another Telugu film Janatha Garage, an action drama directed by Koratala Siva.
Mohanlal acted as a hunter in his following release, the action film Pulimurugan.
Mohanlal starred in thriller film Drishyam 2, directed by Jeethu Joseph.
Mohanlal starred in Aaraattu a mass masala entertainer produced and directed by B Unnikrishnan, which released in theatres on 18 February 2022.
Mohanlal had acted in several amateur plays before entering into films.
Mohanlal has been a goodwill ambassador for the government and other nonprofit organisations, mainly for public service ads and humanitarian causes.
In October 2009, Mohanlal was appointed as the goodwill ambassador of Kerala State Athletics by the Kerala State Athletics Association.
In March 2010, Mohanlal accepted the plea of the Department of Industries and Commerce of the Government of Kerala to be designated as the goodwill ambassador of Kerala's handloom industries.
Mohanlal was appointed as the Goodwill ambassador of "Mrithasanjeevani" in September 2016, another project by the Government of Kerala aimed at promoting organ donation in the state.
Mohanlal has appeared in several television commercials and advertisements for Malabar Gold and Diamonds, Oceanus etc.
Mohanlal was the first movie star in India to endorse the ubiquitous dhoti after he was made the brand ambassador of MCR in 2001.
Mohanlal continues to be the chief brand ambassador of MCR.
Mohanlal signed as the brand ambassador of Kanan Devan in 2002, a tea brand owned by the Tata Global Beverages.
Mohanlal endorsed the coconut oil brand KLF Coconad in 2013.
Mohanlal endorsed its six-week multimedia campaign on television, print, outdoor and digital medias.
Mohanlal has started and associated with several business ventures related to film production and distribution, restaurants and packaged spices among others.
Mohanlal owns Maxlab Cinemas and Entertainments, a film distribution company.
Mohanlal has produced films under the production house Pranavam Arts International.
Mohanlal owns restaurants in India and overseas, including a chain in Dubai called Mohanlal's Tastebuds, established in 2002, and a spices, pickles, condiments, and curry powder brand with the same name launched in February 2004 in the Middle East.
Mohanlal is the co-founder, partner and chairman of Jose Thomas Performing Arts Centre in Thrippunithura, Kochi, an arts centre for performing arts and music established in 2009.
Mohanlal is an independent director of Clenergen India Private Limited, a company for production and supply of biomass feedstock for biomass gasification.
Mohanlal was the captain of the Kerala Strikers team in the Celebrity Cricket League held in 2012 and 2013.
In 2008, Mohanlal secretly underwent 18 months of escape artist training under famous magician Gopinath Muthukad.
Mohanlal had planned to perform a stunt called "Burning Illusion" in Thiruvananthapuram.
Samraj approached the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists with a memorandum signed by 300 magicians, requesting it to urge Mohanlal to withdraw from the performance.
AMMA president and actor Innocent, requested that Mohanlal withdraw from the stunt to avoid endangering himself.
Mohanlal said: "Mohanlal is a pillar of the Malayalam film industry; he has no right to go and do such a risky show".
Mohanlal has been described in the Indian media as one of the most versatile actors and has been lauded for his natural acting style.
Mohanlal was listed 80th in India's Most Trusted Persons, in a survey conducted by Reader's Digest in 2010.
Mohanlal has often been accused in the media of causing a crisis in Malayalam cinema due to the "superstar" effect.
Mohanlal had been criticized for the high remuneration, preference for formulaic content and larger-than-life male-oriented roles that characterized most of his movies during that period.
In 2007, some social activists protested against Mohanlal for appearing in a whisky commercial, to which he responded that it is unfair to single him out when so many other Indian actors do the same.
In 2010, during a public spat between actor Thilakan and the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists regarding a labour issue, social critic Sukumar Azhikode supported Thilakan and criticized leading Malayalam stars, urging them to step aside since they are old, especially mentioning Mohanlal, that he is "a hypocrite who hid his advancing age to act with younger heroines".
Mohanlal responded that Azhikode might be having "hallucinations" and is ignoring it as a joke.
The forest department filed a case against Mohanlal for keeping an elephant tusk at his home, under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Mohanlal married Suchitra, daughter of the Tamil film producer K Balaji, on 28 April 1988.
Mohanlal owns houses in Chennai, his hometown Thiruvananthapuram, Ooty, Mahabalipuram, a villa in Arabian Ranches and a flat in the Burj Khalifa at Dubai.
Mohanlal describes himself as a religious and spiritual person, and likes to read Osho, J Krishnamurti, Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi.
Mohanlal has often stated that the turn of events in his life, including his film career, was accidental.
Mohanlal has occasionally acted in some professional plays and has appeared in a few short films.
Mohanlal has recorded over 31 songs, most of them for the films in which he has acted.
Mohanlal was conferred with honorary Doctor of Letters by Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in 2010, and the University of Calicut in 2018.
In 2008, while filming for Kurukshetra, in which he plays an Indian Army officer, Mohanlal expressed his interest to join the Territorial Army of India.
Mohanlal is the first South Indian actor to be honoured with the title.