By Shobha Warrier
What can I tell you about my son?"
That was Mohanlal's mother, Shantha’s question when I asked her whether she would talk about her son for this special. But when I met her at her Thiruvananthapuram residence one evening, I found nothing would stop her from talking.
No, she wasn't talking about her son, but about life as the mother of a superstar. Mohanlal's father, Viswanathan Nair,an advocate, and his mother live in the house they built 37 years ago. What fascinated me was the lady herself.
Amazing is the word that comes to mind. The hour that I spent at her house was fun and entertaining, to say the least. She jokes, mimics, and makes fun of everything in the world. Now I know where Mohanlal got that wonderful sense of comic timing from!
"Women call me at odd hours and ask for Lal. When I tell them he is not at home, they abuse me, call me a demon, monster, etc. Do I look like a monster?" she asks, and laughs.
More excerpts from the hilarious conversation:
He was a very quiet boy, never pestered or fought for anything. Very, very quiet. But he would imitate everybody, sing songs, dance and act in plays. He used to really fool around and crack a lot of jokes. He used to make everyone at home laugh doing all those little tricks you see in his films now.
When he told us he was going to act in a film, we told him to complete his degree and then do whatever he wanted. We felt that at least a basic degree was essential -- you can't depend upon films alone. He agreed to complete his degree. He was only an average student anyway.
Later on, we didn’t even know he had applied for Manjil Virinja Pookkal. We didn't really object to his decision. We thought he would know what was best for him. But we never expected him to be such a success.
It's because of God's grace that he is a success today. Actually, he's been a strong believer in God since he was very young. My opinion is that you should thank God for all that He blesses you with. You go nearer to God with each of your achievements. Lal is not at all arrogant or egotistic.
I like only his comedy films. I enjoyed Chitram. I can't sit through sad films like Kireedam, Chenkol, etc. If I come to know that a particular film is a tragedy, I don't watch it. I have watched Bharatham, but not the end.
I cannot bear to see him suffer. I don’t like to see him cry. It makes me sad. I know it's just a film. Still, I can’t bear to see my child cry. It was after watching Thalavattam (based roughly on One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) that I started avoiding his tragedy films.
After watching it, I told him, "Mone, (son) please don't act in such films. Even if they give you lots of money, avoid them. We don't want such money."
He was amused. He said, "See, I am standing in front of you. Why are you worried?" Whatever he says, I can't watch these films.
But I like his love scenes a lot -- the way he looks at the heroines! He has that naughty look in his eyes, which I love. I've asked him to take me to see how they picturise a love song, but he never did. He doesn't like to take me there!
I loved Vaanaprastham immensely. I don't know why everybody criticised it. He had taken me to see his Kathakali performance as Poothana. It was great.
And yes, the National Award has made us all very happy, indeed.