My film choices, collaborations with directors secret to success: Mohanal on long-standing career

·5-min read

Mumbai, Feb 8 (PTI) Superstar Mohanlal on Monday said the secret to his successful career of nearly four decades is his script choices and the ability of directors to get the best out of him.

Mohanal, who has acted in more than 340 films predominantly in Malayalam cinema and received multiple National Awards, said it's a 'blessing' to have built a storied filmography.

'I trust my directors, writers, colleagues and fans. It's a blessing to be doing this magic for all these years and to still continue. My movies are the secret of my success. The kind of films I'm doing, the way directors are using me as an actor, all of that has contributed,' the 60-year-old actor said at the virtual trailer launch of 'Drishyam 2', the sequel to his 2013 hit crime drama.

Directed by Jeethu Joseph, 'Drishyam' followed the struggle of Georgekutty (Mohanlal) and his family, who come under suspicion when the son of the Inspector General of Police gets killed.

The Malayalam-language thriller was remade in Hindi with Ajay Devgn filling in for Mohanlal and Tabu playing the Inspector General of Police, originally essayed by Asha Sarath.

Mohanlal said he is confident that the sequel of 'Drishyam' will replicate the success of the original film, which changed the way 'world looks at Malayalam cinema'.

''Drishyam' first part was a huge success, not just in Malayalam but also in multiple languages. It was also the first Indian movie to be remade in Chinese. It received critical as well as commercial success and changed the way the world looks at Malayalam cinema,' the superstar said.

'There is definitely a lot of pressure on making the sequel of such a movie but we are very confident that this film will be loved and well received by the audience. We are now ready to take the legacy forward and achieve a new cinematic milestone,' he added.

Joseph, who is returning to direct the second part, said he is aware that making the sequel comes with a 'baggage of expectations'.

The upcoming film delves deep into the aftermath as Georgekutty's family tries to come to terms with the crime.

'After the first part, I thought there was no chance for a sequel even though people around me were pumping me to make one. In 2015, I started thinking about a sequel. The biggest challenge was to maintain the character continuity.

'It has been six years, so there will be changes in the characters. Their conditions have changed. They have been under pressure. I also thought to get into the society's aspect - how would they view the family accused of a crime?' Joseph said. The director said with the sequel, he wanted to expand on how a simple family would be caught in the web of lies, crime and deceit.

'I thought the family trauma should be the core of the film. They are not professional killers, they don't know how to handle the pressure, the series of investigations. So each character will blossom into someone new in the aftermath of the crime.

'We are excited to share the movie with the audience. Of course, we know that the movie comes with a baggage of expectations, but we hope and pray we are able to satisfy the audience,' he added.

'Drishyam 2', whose trailer crossed over nine million in 48 hours of its debut, is all set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on February 19.

It also stars Meena, Siddique, Asha Sharath, Murali Gopy, Ansiba Hassan, Esther and Saikumar in pivotal roles.

The sequel will see Mohanal's Georgekutty, a cinema loving cable operator, realise that he will have to step up once again to protect his family.

'Drishyam 2' is produced by Antony Perumbavoor under the banner of Aashirvad Cinemas.

As Rani George, wife of Georgekutty, actor Meena said she was initially apprehensive to come on board as she wasn't sure if she would have 'much to do'.

'When I was told there's a sequel in works, I was absolutely thrilled. But I was also scared, if it would have a substantial part for me to play. I didn't share it with the makers, but that fear was initially there. All of that went away when I read the script,' she said.

Hassan, who reprises her role of Anju, Georgekutty's daughter, credited 'Drishyam' as one of her biggest films.

'Jeethu sir called me during the lockdown and said we are ready to go on floors with the sequel. I didn't know how to react because it was such a big thing. I was thrilled to be back for the sequel,' she added.

Vijay Subramaniam, Director and Head, Content, Amazon Prime Video India said the streamer was proud to associate with different language movies as they reflect the rich diversity of the country but Malayalam cinema has consistently given 'intellectually stimulating' stories -- be it 'Lucifer', 'Trance', 'C U Soon' and now 'Drishyam 2'.

The sequel, Subramaniam said, ticked all boxes of the 'right elements' of a taut thriller.

'When there's a masterpiece and someone says they're going to take a shot and make it better, there's always that little tinge of tension as a fan. But it's an exhilarating piece of work, it has got all the ingredients of a whodunnit and high quality of emotional family drama,' Subramaniam said. PTI JUR BK RDS SHD RDS BK BK BK