The complete actor Mohanlal has always been in the news for his movies and sometimes even for inane matters over which he has no links. Each time his movie is announced, audience look forward for it no matter what. Even if it is a hartal day, his followers manage to bring the show on like how it happened on 'Odiyan' release day on Friday.
And when you are a star, controversies can't leave your way and neither has it left Mohanlal too over the years. Come what may, Mohanlal would just laugh off baseless allegations that are made against him. Mohanlal's close friend and producer Antony Perumbavoor in an interview with Onmanorama admitted that he becomes really upset when someone speaks ill of Mohanlal for no reason at all.
Antony also talked about an incident where Mohanlal chose to keep mum over controversies that he never intended for.
“Lal had great respect for Sukumar Azhikode. However, one day, he turned against Lal for reasons unknown. In his speeches, at many places, he insulted him and mocked by saying that Mohanlal uses a wig. However, once Lal reacted strongly and then Azhikode didn’t speak anything about him. Later, through a common friend both parties agreed that they wouldn’t talk about the episode anymore. That same day, Azhikode appeared in front of the media and told that Mohanlal had apologised to him. I was greatly hurt and decided to respond to him the next day. However, Lal dissuaded me from doing that. He said, ‘Antony, our job is to make others happy. If he draws happiness from all these, then let him do that. We should just ignore it’."
In his last days, Azhikode expressed his wish to meet Lal. He visited him in the hospital and spoke to him. While returning from the hospital Lal told me, ‘This is just how far one’s hatred and scorn can last.’ A few days after this meeting, Azhikode breathed his last,” said Antony.
Antony opened up an incident which pained him the most. Referring to a blockbuster movie, which ridiculed the tantrums thrown by superstars, Antony said that Mohanlal had acted in that movie, written by Sreenivasan, clearly knowing that those jibes were aimed at him. The screen icon didn’t even demand a change in the script or expressed censures in the final cut.
“That movie was a good one, though. But after it became a superhit, Sreenivasan wrote another shoddy script and acted in it. When I came to know about it, I called cameraman S Kumar and the film’s director. Lal, Kumar and I have been friends for so long. But that evening Sreenivasan summoned a press meeting and baselessly alleged that Antony Perumbavoor had threatened him. I have known Sreenivasan for at least 30 years. I don’t understand why he, instead of calling me and enquiring the truth about the phone call, had alleged that I had threatened him. I have not called Sreenivasan since then. None had hurt me as severe as he did. However, I know that there is no point in talking about the past. It would have at last made some sense had the movie been successful. Even that didn’t happen,” Antony does not hide his emotions.
Antony recalled an incident when they got stuck in the middle of a crowd, who had rushed to catch a glimpse of their favourite superstar. It was the time when Mohanlal’s movie 'Aye Auto' had just released. The duo was having dinner, at midnight, from a way side 'thattukada' in Alappuzha. The man who ran the eatery didn’t recognise the actor. It was then the show got over at the nearby movie theatre and people began to rush out. Someone in the crowd recognised the registration number of the car and realised it was Mohanlal inside. Even before, Antony could realise what was happening, the crowd had surrounded the car. When someone tried to pull open the doors, Mohanlal locked it from inside and began frantically look for Antony among the crowd. Antony somehow managed to reach near the car and lighted a lighter and held it up his face. Seeing him, Mohanlal unlocked the door near the driver’s seat and Antony jumped inside and drove off. The plates and glasses from the eatery were still inside the car. After a while, they came back to return the plates and glass. By that time the road was already deserted. Mohanlal thanked the man who ran the eatery and he, in turn, was excited and happy to see his screen idol closely.
Antony even recalled an episode when he had a small tiff with the royal of Travancore. Once, a car hit his vehicle from behind. Though Mohanlal was not in the car, Antony got agitated, and out of his immaturity as a youngster parked his car in the middle of the road, blocking other vehicles. He demanded compensation for the damage done to his car. However, he noticed that neither the driver nor the person sitting in the rear came out of that car. The person calmly kept saying that he would pay up if Antony went with him. Antony, however, went to the nearby phone booth to ask Mohanlal what to do. But when he returned, the other car was seen nowhere around. There were two police jeeps in the place, and Antony was immediately taken to the police station for blocking the road with his car. When he told the policemen that it was actor Mohanlal’s car, the police personnel began to talk respectfully about the actor’s father Viswanathan Nair, who was the law secretary. It was only then Antony came to know that the car which hit on his vehicle earlier belonged to the king of Travancore.
Antony said he recalled this episode whenever he accompanied Mohanlal to the royal palace.
One scary night
Similarly, Antony, still recalls, with a shudder, the time when he had to drive the car, with Mohanlal, director Mani Ratnam, cinematographer Santhosh Sivan and stunt choreographer Thyagarajan in it, through a steep muddy road at a quarry, where the actor was shooting for the Tamil movie 'Iruvar'. “It began to rain heavily and water gushed to the steep pathway. The path was full of huge rocks and mud, and it soon turned slippery. I couldn’t even see the road. I understood that the car was slipping aside. But it was too risky to stop the car there as huge rocks may fall off the cliff along with the gushing water. Somehow I managed to drive the car slowly and it took us more than an hour to climb the steep pathway. I was so scared that night and had evoked the names of all the Gods I knew. I always feel the immense grace of Lord Almighty surrounding us,” confessed the producer.