Happy Birthday Mohanlal: The actor knows that the best years of his career are still ahead of him and the last 40 years were a sort of preparation to reach where he's today.
A new study by a UK-based health service company suggests 60 is the new 40. If they ever want a poster boy to underline that life really begins at 60, Malayalam superstar Mohanlal is just the man. As he celebrates his 61st birthday on Friday, he embarks on a new phase in his career, where his best is yet to come.
Hollywood star Brad Pitt’s last year speech, where he talked about his age, comes to mind. “I’m old. I’ve been around a while and I’ve been doing this for a bit. I can’t stand night shoots anymore, and I’ll gladly hand a stunt over to a stunt man. I no longer remember the first rule of Fight Club,” Pitt had quipped. And that’s how you know when a star is growing old when they accept their age.
But, in the case of Mohanlal, the opposite is the truth. He seems to be upping the ante as he’s grows older. For instance, of all the things he’s known for, he was not exactly a poster boy for fitness. He is among the movie stars who showed us that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. And one doesn’t necessarily have to be tall and thin to feel like a hero. However, at 61, he has found a new love for fitness and has been going to gyms regularly. And he takes a great delight in posting his workout videos on his Instagram account. All the work he’s putting in the gym is showing off as Mohanlal looks a bit lean compared to how he looked, say, a couple of years ago.
His newfound passion for fitness is one of the ways Mohanlal is using to actively reinvent himself. He has always been a huge star in the Malayalam film industry. And he’s celebrated as a gifted actor all across the country. You know the kind, people would appreciate his talent, when they watch his movies in the comforts of their home on television. They may not line up at 3am to watch his films — something that happens often with Mohanlal’s films in Kerala — they know he is a powerhouse performer.
The reputation is now translating into views and box office numbers. Mohanlal’s films have started to make good money outside the traditional markets of the Malayalam film industry. It began with Drishyam, a medium-budget crime thriller, which collected more than Rs 50 crore in 2013, which was a new collection record at that time. His next film Oppam (2016) also earned Rs 50 crore at the box office. And then came his box office juggernaut, Pulimurugan. The 2016 action film became the first film in the history of Malayalam cinema to collect Rs 100 crore from its worldwide ticket sales. And that achievement was dwarfed by Lucifer, which grossed Rs 100 crore in its theatrical collection within 10 days of its release. The film’s lifetime collection is pegged at Rs 200 crore. His big-budget period piece Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham is expected to further push the bar in terms of box office collection. The market for Malayalam movies worldwide is expanding and Mohanlal is at the front driving it.
He’s breaking new grounds outside acting as well as he begins his innings as a director. He is helming a fantasy movie titled Barroz: Guardian of D’Gama’s Treasure. Mind it, there is no need for him to take that risk. If he wants he can choose to make multi-crore movies until he gets tired and then retire. Instead, he chooses to change his lifestyle, learn new skills, and take risks, thus offsetting the effects of ageing.
Mohanlal knows that the best years of his career are still ahead of him and the last 40 years were a sort of preparation to reach where he’s today. He is at a point in his life, where he finds himself in the middle of a tectonic shift in the Malayalam film industry. He is at the right place, at the right time, with the right bent of mind and right health, to make the best out of every opportunity and technological advancement of his time.
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