This is a piece I have been putting on hold for a long time.
I’m a hard core Lalettan fan, a 90's kid. I would say I’m one because both my parents, my older brother, and my cousins are all Lalettan fans because we grew up in Mumbai (Bombay, then) and watching Malayalam movies for us meant watching comedy movies.
Nadodikattu, Akkare Akkare Akkare, Chitram, etc were (and still are) our all time favorites.
It’s when I started dating my husband in 2007 that he said, “you can’t call yourself a Lalettan fan by watching only his comedy movies!” and he introduced me to the real world of Mohanlal movies with Thoovanathumbikal, Dasaratham, Namakku Paarkaam Munthiri Thoppukal, Thanmathra etc. And these movies are what transformed me from a normal fan to a hard core fan, but somewhere in those years the arrogance of fandom got to my head and I started ridiculing Mammootty fans. Like typical fan club members from Kerala,I would just for the sake of an argument, argue about how Mohanlal is a better and bigger actor.
Then, a few years ago a friend of mine said, “Don’t call yourself a Lalettan fan without having watched Vadakkan Veeragatha! I can’t believe it; you review movies and haven’t watched a classic like Vadakkan Veeragatha yet!"
That statement intrigued me. He was actually right! I have unabashedly sung praises for Mohanlal (which were definitely true, and I’ll get to that) and been a self proclaimed fan without ever watching movies of this phenomenon called Mammootty!
So I set out on a journey to watch some popular Mammootty movies. I started with Vadakkan Veeragatha, then Thaniyavarthanam, Amaram, Dhruvam, Valsalyam, Mazhayethum Munpe, Bhoothakannadi, Munnariyippu, etc to name a few and I was blown away. There were an amazing amount of movies, but I skipped some because they weren’t of a genre I enjoy.
But these were enough to make me feel ashamed that I was never aware of the actual caliber of this phenomenal actor!
Then I started the journey with his newer movies he has acted in, after his reinvention; Peranbu, Unda, Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam, Bheeshma Parvam, Puzhu, Rorschach, Kannur Squad and finally Kaathal-The Core.
If you haven’t watched any of his movies, just watch Kaathal-The Core and you’d understand what a beautiful actor he is! There is a scene in the movie where, just before the divorce is finalized, his wife Jyothika tells him to sleep beside her one last time. Mammootty cries aloud saying “ente deivame” and hugs her. I don’t think anybody who has watched that scene wouldn’t be teary eyed. Another scene that tugged my heart is when Mammootty asks his father, what was his mistake in all of this and cries. An actor at his stardom level chose to act as a middle aged gay man who comes out now, itself is beyond admiration. But the fact that this actor is 71 and continues to experiment with roles and reinvents himself each time is an absolutely unbelievable achievement. Absolute Respect!
I can go on and on about this new found respect and admiration I have for Mammootty. But I’ll end with this. I wholeheartedly apologize to all the Mammootty fans I have ridiculed or made fun of. There are no two ways that Mohanlal is indeed The Complete Actor, but the Malayalam film industry is absolutely incomplete without Mammootty either!
We cannot make fun of Mohanlal fans or Mammootty fans. These are two actors meant for their rightly deserved stardom!
As a lover of good movies, I just hope and pray that both these actors experiment and reinvent themselves to their absolute best. May their hunger for great art continue.