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Home / Regional Movies / Mohanlal turns 60: Five non-Malayalam films in which the star proved his versatility

Mohanlal turns 60: Five non-Malayalam films in which the star proved his versatility

Happy birthday Mohanlal: Loved in Kerala as an actor par excellence, very often he has proved that he can excel in roles in other languages too. Here’s a list.

regional-movies Updated: May 21, 2020 08:04 IST
Karthik Kumar
Karthik Kumar
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Mohanlal has been working in films for the last three decades.
Mohanlal has been working in films for the last three decades.

It is a known fact that Mohanlal is one of the biggest stars in Malayalam cinema. With an illustrious career spanning over three decades, he’s done some phenomenal, unparalleled work in Malayalam. However, he has proved his versatility in other languages as well. On the occasion of his 60th birthday, here’s a look at five of his best non Malayalam films that are proof to his range.


Mohanlal’s first major lead role in a non Malayalam film was Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar, which saw the veteran play a character called Anandam, modeled after former Tamil Nadu chief minister and legendary actor MG Ramachandran (MGR). Tipped to be one of the best works of Mohanlal, the film proved that language was not a barrier for the star and he could make an impact in any role. Apparently, Mani Ratnam was so impressed by Mohanlal’s realistic performance, he forgot to say cut quite a few times while shooting.


In his maiden Hindi outing, Mohanlal teamed up with maverick filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma in Company. In the film, he played the character of IPS Veerapalli Srinivasan, who uses the rift between Ajay Devgn and Vivek Oberoi in the film to bring the mafia under control. His performance in Company went on to earn him the best supporting actor at the IIFA Awards and Star Screen Awards. Even though he went on to team up again with RGV in the highly disappointing Aag, Mohanlal’s performance in Company gets talked about even today.


Jilla saw Mohanlal share screen space with Tamil cinema’s biggest star Vijay. In the film, he played a Madurai-based don, who adopts a boy (Vijay) who grows up to be his right-hand man. Some of the best moments of the film are the scenes between the lead actors. For Mohanlal, Jilla was a refreshing departure to share screen space with a much younger actor and he had no qualms about it. One of the reasons for the film’s runaway success in Kerala was the presence of Mohanlal

Unnai Pol Oruvan

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In the Tamil remake of A Wednesday, Mohanlal reprised Anupam Kher’s role from the original. The film also featured Kamal Haasan in the lead role. In what could be described as one of his underrated performances, Mohanlal played his character as convincingly as possible, managing to leave an impact despite sharing screen space with Kamal Haasan. Even in an extended screen appearance, he delivered a standout performance.

Janatha Garage 

Koratala Siva’s Janatha Garage saw Mohanlal share screen space with Jr NTR, another young star from this generation. Cut from the same cloth as RGV’s Sarkar, the film featured Mohanlal in the role of a small workshop owner Sathyam, who also operates as a local don. His performance not only worked in the film’s favour but also gave Jr NTR an opportunity to learn more about realistic acting.

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