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An 80’s born Malayali can never think of an alter childhood growing up without the memories of Lalettan’s words ‘Kilometres and kilometres!  In these days of degenerating decency of Miami beach to Washington DC..’ and ‘Namukkenthada daasa ee budhi nerathe thonnaanjathu’ and ‘Enne kollaathirikaan pattuo’ or ‘Annie mone snehikkunnathu pole Maggikku enne snehikkamo’ or ‘Clarakku enne marry cheythoode’ and many many more. And I strongly feel gratitude to the wonderful childhood I had owing to the VCR and movie cassettes  that my dad brought from ‘Gulf’ and more importantly to the one and only Lalettan who filled my tiny world full of laughter and delight.
When the whole world went up in arms for the blood of Lalettan,  I stood firm defending him and sternly proclaiming that he would never swindle public money for his vested interests. People asked me how I can be so sure. But I can be. I just knew. Somehow that feeling has been instilled in me through his movies, interviews, blogs, words and deeds, that he is a genuine person without an evil bone in his system. And I truly believe the goodness in his movies and his thoughts have moulded the goodness in many a Malayali, including me.
And Yes, it is hard being a Mohanlal Fan.. Not because you keep getting cornered, when a film of his bombs at the box office or when he acts in roles not exactly cut out for him (downside of him being a person who would rather do a bad role than say no to people who mean something to him) but because there is a whole world of bad news mongers called sub-standard Malayalis, including pseudo MohanLal fans who feed and bulge their bellies and burp in content seeing someone else being stoned and hurt, a clan who never bother to even think twice or get their facts in place, before setting out on this mission. And yes, our dear Lalettan has had the misfortune to fall prey to the malicious words and thoughts of such lot! I have had to answer the grumpy questions and silly memes that were sent my way as if I’m Lalettan’s spokesperson. I guess it is part of the package when you are a true fan and I’m only happy to oblige. And I am only proud to say I’ve waged many a war for Lalettan, the battlegrounds being Classrooms, Get-togethers and of late, Facebook. And once again, this time round I intend to come out strong and proclaim my support for Lalettan in this unnecessary brawl created by many scoffers and cynics all around him. Yes, the show by Lalisom band at National Games inauguration did not turn out a magnum opus as expected. But that does not give any onlooking jobless monkeys the right to fling dirt in all directions accusing that Mohanlal conned money from the already corrupt government that we have.
Now that Lalettan has decided to return the expenses incurred by Lalisom show,(that is the expenses government actually spent on setting up stage, orchestra, other singers’ remuneration, rehearsal expenses, T&A etc which he definitely didn’t have to give back – that too after losing 21 days of his own remuneration from his movie works) many others are themselves seen displaying a different kind of show altogether. ‘”The Act of Changing Faces” – by pseudo fans who have taken a U-turn and suddenly started calling him the gift of Malayalam film industry and epitome of magnanimity. Some others have been seen doing “The Vanishing Act” – by the rest of the detractors who all seem to have gone absconding when the duly submitted expenses sheet showed that he actually did not accept remuneration for his performance just like he had made clear even before the show .
I wonder why this coterie of back biters and opportunists never saw the genuineness of this gem of a man – how they fail to notice it when he donates his eyes or organs or when he signs up for stem-cell research, or how they fail to see that he is a class apart when he turned out to be the only celebrity who actually talked sense about the petulance and nonsensicality of people protesting against a gesture of love, and how he is clearly the only actor who is not just a complete actor, but a complete artiste who has proven to the world that be it any art form – Acting, Dancing, Drawing, Kadhakali, Karate, Kalaripayattu, Drama, Magic – be it anything, he can master it all with the sleight of a hand, and even how his interviews have always been profoundly insightful. I clearly remember one instance when he was asked about people who hurt him with their vile accusations. His reply was something like ‘When someone says something against us, we need not carry it on our shoulders, it will only be a burden for us. Instead let it go and feel free. Let the burden be only his problem’. But to see his fans turn against him without even waiting to know the truth seem to have really given a deep gash to that heart. Don’t know how long it will take him to let go the burden of that pain.
I am a person who has had the rare fortune to meet this great man in person, have a meal with him and actually spend more than an hour sitting right next to him talking at length about even inanities of my life like the fact that I share the same birthdate as him, that I still hold on to the autograph I got from him when I was 10 years old, or that I’m also an Osho fan just like him. Him listening to all my yapping so patiently and equally participating in the conversation made me realise how down-to-earth a human being he is, despite the heights he has conquered. He kept telling me to try out each and every dish, kept asking why I was eating very little, telling the waiters to give me a piece of the tasty kappa or another appam and this and that, playing the role of a perfect host. He was only supposed to spend half an hour with us since he came from a shooting location just for the occasion, but he made it a point to sit through the lunch till all of us finished and did a cake cutting after that and left only about an hour and half later. When one of us asked about him losing his precious time for our sake, his answer was,“Ningalde koode irikkunnathum santhosham alle’ followed by a sweet smile. I always believed my unending adoration and admiration for him is what made me have the opportunity to spend such quality time with Lalettan. Like Paulo Coelho says, “When you want something bad enough, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” and that was a wish I believe I yearned for, more than anyone else.
The fact is, someone who has scaled the mountains of achievements and recognitions as Mohanlal has, need not be sincerely humble, and genuinely nice in behaviour to a random stranger, for it is not going to do much for him professionally or personally. But I guess he just can’t help it. Can’t help being the way he is, being Mohanlal. Each Malayali who has been touched by the divine acting of this legend says in unison – “Lalettan makes us feel like he is a member of our own family”. And would you ever forgo your family come what may? So, know this all you detractors, those who love him from the bottom of their hearts will always do that and stand by him firmly, no matter what the rest of the world says or thinks. And we are a hell lot in number!! With u Laletta, forever!! :-*

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