Forty years ago, Mohanlal and his group of friends used to meet at the Thycaud Police Ground, nursing movie ambitions after their school hours at the adjoining Model High School. Fast forward to 2017, Mohanlal wanted his son Pranav Mohanlal to face the first clap of his re-launch at Taj Vivanta, opposite the Thycaud police ground, where he will hit the theatres soon in and as Aadi. The motley group of friends of Mohanlal’s, who had gathered at the five-star hotel hoping to see the pooja of Odiyan and Aadi, were in for a surprise when they saw the teaser launch of Velipadinte Pusthakam by Lal Jose happening.
It was the same Thycaud police ground where Thiranottam, Mohanlal’s unreleased film was shot. If then, Mohanlal’s parents Viswanathan Nair and Santhakumari were there to see their son facing the camera, this time Pranav’s mother Suchitra and younger sister Vismaya too were there to render support to his debut as a hero in the crime suspense thriller. Mohanlal’s close buddies Suresh Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Rajeevnath, and M.G. Sreekumar were all there to bless the budding actor. Producer Suresh Kumar told Pranav that the moment he becomes ‘Lal’, the actor’s son would become “complete”. It should be recalled that Mohanlal is often referred to as the “complete actor”.
It came as a surprise to many when Ashok Kumar informed the gathering that Sreedharan, the photographer who first took the still picture of Mohanlal and Suresh Kumar, the clap boy in Thiranottam, too has graced the occasion. When actor-cum-legislator Mukesh said one day Mohanlal will be known as Pranav’s dad, it elicited a round of applause. Nedumudi Venu recalled how as a child Appu a.k.a Pranav had come to him by doing a somersault. He said he always knew that one day Pranav would make it big.
Directors T.K. Rajeev Kumar, B. Unnikrishnan and Major Ravi; actors K.B. Ganesh Kumar, Jagadeesh, Mallika Sukumaran, et al. eulogised Pranav and wished him good luck. A shy person and man of few words, Pranav, who hogged the limelight, sat amid his parents and sister with a coy smile. The makers behind Aadi were certain that Pranav would be talking through his film only. Mohanlal charmed the audience with his crisp but brief thank you speech. “After listening to everyone’s speeches here, I am kind of tensed. Usually, I do not undergo any tension. I have always been confronted by my friends enquiring about Pranav’s launch as a hero,” said a proud Mohanlal.
However, when Mohanlal said he believes in privacy and does not wish to intrude in one’s personal life, it is quite clear that his son’s re-entry, like his own, also happened at the most opportune time. All three films — Odiyan, Velipadinte Pusthakam and Aadi — will be released under the banner of Aashirvad films. When V.A. Shrikumar Menon, debut director of Odiyan, recalled his poignant life sketch in a capsule form, everyone proclaimed that the most expensive Malayalam film will definitely be a super hit. When ace ad-filmmaker-turned-director Shrikumar informed that Odiyan will be a mass thriller — with three songs penned by Rafeeq Ahamed and two songs by his daughter Lakshmi, music direction by M. Jayachandran and five stunts by stunt choreographer Peter Hein — the applause resembled that of a theatre. He recalled his days as a struggling ad-filmmaker, chucking his chartered accountancy student days, when he incurred a whopping loss of Rs. 15 crore.
“My father sold all our family property to repay the losses I had accumulated in 10 months. Later, on his deathbed, my father asked me how I will live. To this day, I do not know whether he was asking me what I am going to do or how I will live after his death. After few years, my mother never woke up from her sleep after reading the Bhagavat Gita,” said a teary-eyed Shrikumar, which spread a pall of gloom among the audience. Director Lal Jose, who is coming out with his 23rd film Velipadinte Pusthakam, made everyone smile when he said he never had a fitting launch for any of his earlier flicks. After 19 years in the Malayalam film industry, Lal Jose promised his fans that hereafter he will have a befitting dream launch akin to the one given by Aashirvad films. Director B. Unnikrishnan also got attention when he quipped that amid mega budget films Villain, his upcoming film featuring Mohanlal, will also soon hit the theatres.