What are the best Mohanlal films

15 Best Mohanlal Movies You Must See

Film actors can be broadly divided into two categories: those who have chosen acting as their profession, and those who have been chosen by the profession itself. Mohanlal Viswanathan Nair, popularly known as Mohanlal, is one of those fabulously talented actors from Kerala, India; who can undoubtedly be included in the latter category. A promising career that has now spanned over 35 years still impresses us in almost every performance he portrays on screen. Often referred to as 'The Complete Actor' by both his fans and well-wishers, he has played many roles in his long career, arguably with the utmost perfection, which has never found this attribute he possesses to be exaggerated.


During a time in Malayalam cinema, most films were treated with realistic and naturalistic plots that efficiently required skilled actors to portray them originally and believably. and Mohanlal is considered the ultimate great when it comes to that. Even when he appeared in roles of such immense versatility, his characters have never appeared far beyond that and have always been convincing. Time magazine famously quoted that 'Mohanlal is India's answer to Marlon Brando'. Many other famous actors across India such as Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth are great reviewers of his work. Indeed, he is one of the best actors the country has ever produced, and arguably one of the best in the world. We at The Cinemaholic are now looking back and listing the 15 best Mohanlal films. You can watch some of these best Mohanlal movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.



15. Teacher (1997)



If I say, this was the first Malayalam film to be selected as India's official entry into the Oscars. This was one of those films that was way ahead of its time and place. It didn't deal with the usual topics the Malay audiences were used to, and apparently it wasn't well received at the time of its publication. But it was one of the most ambitious films Malayalam had seen to date, and it also had a generally appealing theme. Directed by Rajiv Anchal, this genre-binding fantasy drama had cast members who were all equally good. This film is very metaphorical by nature, the underlying meaning of which can be ascribed to many things not only on a communal, but also on a global level. As the name itself suggests 'Guru' (which means 'teacher'), this can be a true eye opener and a door to self-realization. Mohanlal's performance is different from his others, but it is truly stunning.

14. Thanmatra (2005)



I remember getting emotional at the end of almost every director Blessy movie in my childhood, and Thanmatra was one of them. This film follows the life of a man with Alzheimer's and how the family reacts to the situation. Mohanlal's appearance in this film is undoubtedly one of the best of his entire career. This film was adapted from legendary writer / director P. Padmarajan's 'Orma'. Although the first half of his role was the usual one he had dealt with in the past, the second half required his potential to be at the top and we experience an act unlike any other that he has before had done. His performance makes us realize the pathetic desolation of a man who has lost all of his memories, along with the dreams and hopes of his life that may be the last thing we want as humans. It haunts you emotionally almost every time you see.

13. Nadodikkattu (1987)

Director Sathyan Anthikad was one of the real charms of the Kerala film industry at its height, and his films marked the search for lost innocence, often debating political issues and most importantly, his unparalleled ability when it came to directing such plays that close stand the hearts of an ordinary Malayali. 'Nadodikkattu' is one such gem of a film with the majestic combination of Mohanlal (as Dasan) and Sreenivasan (as Vijayan), the success of which made way for two more films in the series. This other level film is a comic book satire - like most of the films written by Sreenivasan - on the condition that it prevailed in Kerala, where unemployment and opportunities were a serious problem and people immigrated to other countries in hopes of salvation to find work for themselves and their families. The characters in this film are almost as epic as they were then and now, and the dialogues in this feature are often found in Malayali's daily conversations. We see yet another layer of Mohanlal, albeit a minor extension of his reach, in which he plays comedy roles as simple as a cake.



12. Kilukkam (1991)

The amazing Priyadarshan-Mohanlal combo cannot be compared to most of the other actor-director combo in Malayalam. They made films that paved the way for the beginning of their careers in equal measure and that remain fresh and evergreen even now. 'Kilukkam' is no exception. It is still one of the best comedies in Malayalam. Another Mohanlal movie that you can watch countless times and enjoy every time, the performance of all the other leading characters in this movie is almost unforgettable. Actors Jagathy Sreekumar and Innocent alone will make you laugh to death. Being a Malayali and not having seen 'Kilukkam' is often viewed as a sin. If you haven't seen this before, I highly recommend you check this out! One of the underrated Mohanlal films.

11. Dasharatham (1989)

See the highlight scene of this movie by yourself and tell me you hate Mohanlal! Sibi Malayil, another great director of his day, wonderfully tells the tragic story of a young man who is rich but unhappy and immature in his decisions, often controlled by alcohol and with no interest in anything whose life is changing When he decides to have a child through artificial insemination and thus to help a family in dire need of money. The film was wonderfully written by A. K. Lohithadas, who also made a bold decision to work out such an impending plot at this time, and is also a trademark of the film. The music in the Johnson film also gives the story immense emotional depth. The film is very heartbreaking, especially towards the end, and teaches us very valuable lessons.

10. Spadikam (1995)

Mohanlal's most dashing character to date, 'Spadikam', shows new levels a commercial can travel to when it has a soul and purity in its making. His character 'Aadu Thoma' is vividly inspirational and one of the most talked about of his entire career. Though he beat the bad guys with reinvented styles and showered them with heroic deliveries, the soul of the film lies in the solid portrayal of the relationship between a father and son. Thilakan - one of the truest artists in Kerala - appears as 'Chacko Mash', the narcissistic father, mathematician and strict teacher who separated from his son in his early days when he didn't become the kid he wanted Be. The film then develops how the son turns into a rowdy when his true passions are thrown away, and how both lives depend on this clash between them. The performances of both main artists were raw and ultimately true to the core.

9. Devasuram (1993)

While most of the other characters mentioned on this list are that he's made efficient, we can't even imagine another face of 'Mangalassery Neelakandan', the iconic feudal landlord. Through this film, he literally became the face of arrogant masculinity in Kerala, rising towards fame, and many other films that came in the future took good advantage of this image of him. Written by dashing screenwriter Ranjith and directed by the classic I.V. Sasi, this depicts the epic narrative of a 'Valluvanadan' period in Kerala, when archaic rituals reigned among the people and they were controlled by this feudal landlord called 'Thamburan'. A sequel to the film, entitled 'Raavanaprabhu', was released in 2001.

8. Manichitrathazhu (1993)

A film that I've seen countless times. This is for sure one of my favorite Malayalam movies. Although the film was directed by Fazil, it consisted of equally talented second unit directors such as Priyadarsan, Sibi Malayil, and many talented others who made great contributions to the film. It is still one of the greatest thrillers produced in Indian cinema. Almost every Indian knows this film because of its remake in different languages. The main character in the film is Ganga, who is miraculously played by the wonderful Shobhana who develops multiple personality disorder while staying with her husband. Mohanlal appears as Dr. Sunny, the psychiatrist who comes to cure another woman's illness that she has been falsely accused of. Terms like 'neurosis' and 'psychosis' therefore came into a common Malay vocabulary. In a 2013 online survey by IBN Live''Manichitrathazhu''was ranked second in India's greatest film of all time.

7. Kaalapani (1996)

The slogan of this film during its release was 'A Movie Every Indian Must See' and 'Kaalapani', the epic historical drama of Priyadrashan, demands just that. The independence struggles across India in the late 19th century and then in a half The 20th century in the 20th century resulted in the gruesome facades that people walked through and that are often overlooked by the Indian film industry. But "Kaalapani" redefined many of the ideas about human struggles of that time that we had in this part of the world. This was also a revelation in terms of introducing aspects of filmmaking in Kerala, where experimental, big budget ensemble-cast films were hard to come by, but Priyadarshan and his crew did a fabulous job of producing such an epic representation that create a significant act of reconciliation.

The film takes place mainly in a cellular prison called 'Kaala Pani' in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where the suffering of the inmates and the behavior of the British officers towards them are portrayed in a barbaric way. The film was built on a very large budget and also received the broadest release for any film in Kerala by then, but was ruthlessly bombed at the box office. Even famous critics of the time have destroyed this masterful piece. But it rose from the ashes - as true art forms always do - in the second half of the century and is now considered one of the best films from India and a golden achievement in the entire career of the artist. I seriously doubt that Malayali's perception of good films has not improved yet.

6. Sadayam (1992)

Being an artist with such recognized expertise in your field can smear you at times. A similar aspect is that some of your outstanding achievements are being overlooked. In this facet, Mohanlal's 'Sadayam' is at the forefront in his case. This film, his most underrated achievement to date, saw another combination of director Sibi Malayil with him, which at the time formed another deadly combination and was written by the famous M. T. Vasudevan Nair. The film had a very complex storyline, full of flashbacks and authentic character studies, which was very rare at the time. Mohanlal appeared as 'Sathyanadhan' who is now waiting to be found in prison for killing four people, including two children.

Even if this premise seems very obscure to you, the film shows how death comes as a savior when life is so violently outrageous that there doesn't seem to be anything you can do about it. Human life is massively interconnected, and sometimes those who are filled with compassion for others are the ones who are often in danger and disdain. Morality and compassion can work in different ways for everyone, and this film analyzes a fact that rational advocacy and pre-written laws sometimes seem inappropriate. The film is also a strong commentary against the way society judges women and a message to fight hard for their rights. Mohanlal's character earned many ratings for his role, which was unethically denied by many.

5. Thoovanathumbikal (1987)

30 years after its first introduction, “Thoovanathumbikal” by the great P. Padmarajan remains one of the classics of Malayalam cinema of all time. This is one of those films that you can watch countless times and still cannot fully imagine the depths into which it will travel. It can be a melodically told story of romance for some, a philosophically hidden reading in two planes of the human psyche for another, and finding a self through love and compassion for another. However it connects you, most of the credits go to the wonderfully detailed script written by the director himself, for which he is amply famous.

Jayakrishnan (Mohanlal) is mostly a guy who shows conflicting behaviors among different people and who doesn't seem to know how to react to certain situations and not understand his true self, and the film on one level shows his search for it. This mainly happens when he meets Clara (Sumalatha), a sex worker who is not at all common. I think you should only find out about this from the movie itself as 'Clara' is hands down one of the most abundant female characters to have appeared in Malayalam films. Rain is almost a main character here. As the title suggests (translated as 'dragonflies in the drizzle'), the film travels into a mystical world, but the climax becomes more of a ritually anticipated one that Padmarajan supposedly wanted to happen the way it would be in the real world.

4. Bharatham (1991)

'Bharatham', a musical drama by A.K. Lohithadas and directed by Sibi Malayil is interpreted as a retelling of the epic Ramayana from Bharatha's point of view. The film is highly regarded for its flawlessness, despite the handling of a tempting subject, and it appeals to audiences in a wonderful way. The film is set in a Nambhoodiri family of musicians, in which the tradition of the deceased father is carried on by the older son (Nedumudi Venu). He shows how he becomes addicted to alcohol and develops jealousy towards his brother (Mohanlal), who receives better attraction and appreciation than the one who replaces him in a certain event. The film on the one hand questions the custom of upholding illogical superstitions about art instead of evaluating the true form of it. The perception of Ramayana is beautifully depicted, where the younger brother takes the place of his elder only under his contempt and has only admiration and respect for him. The use of classical and carnatic music in this film received a lot of attention. Mohanlal received his first national award for best actor for the film.

3. Kireedam (1989)

Another compelling collaboration by Mohanlal-Sibi Malayil, "Kireedam," is a heartbreaking portrayal of the struggles of a common man whose fate works almost contrary to what we expect and how his tragic story unfolds. It examines how society types people and forces them to play that part whether they like it or not. The plot of the film is one of those rare gems that you will come across, and it will get you emotionally involved with the main character in almost every scene. The father-son duo Thilakan-Mohanlal is incomparable, whose performances will exhaust you at the end of the day. There are these obscure facades of society that are largely unrecognized by the majority and whose influences you can influence in unimaginable ways. This is exactly what the film explores in a simple but extremely efficient way. The film calls this the 'throne' (also the translation of the title) of society, a ruthless metaphor for the lack of truthfulness and the pursuit of power among people.

2. Iruvar (1997)

Maniratnam's "Iruvar" was the only non-Malayalam film on the list and, of course, one of the most profound films to come out of India. He showed Mohanlal's charisma and diversity. It also featured the debut of former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, who appears in multiple roles. The film revolves around the second half of the 20th century and tells the story of two friends and the parallel events in their lives.It is widely believed to be based on the relationship between the two masters of Tamilnadu, MGR and Karunanidhi. The film actually dealt with a very sensitive subject and had many problems, first from the censors and then during the time of its first release. The music by A. R. Rahman and the cinematography by Santhosh Sivan were impeccable and received many awards. Also, this film came out during the Maniratnam era and he himself considers it his best film and has also inspired many other directors like Gautham Menon. It is a must for every Indian cinema lover.

1. Vanaprastham (1999)

In real life or in art there is something called a life changing act. From the point of view of a real actor, he can live daily in the hope of performing such an act the next day or the other that could be the ultimate satisfaction for him. In Shaji N Karun's drama film “Vanaprastham” from 1999, Mohnalal gives his life-changing achievement and thus redefines all concepts of material action that humans have ever invented. After watching that movie, a French technician quoted: 'The only thing this guy did wrong is he was born in this part of the world and if he had been born anywhere else he could have bagged a lot of Oscars.'

The plot is essentially centered on Kunhikuttan (Mohanlal), a Kathakali artist who becomes the object of desire and apparent deception of Subhadra (Suhasini), the Maharaja's niece. When she sees Kunhikuttan Portay Arjuna during a Kathakali performance for the king, she is fascinated. As the story progresses, we see that she clearly confuses Kunhikuttan, who plays Arjuna, with the real Arjuna. A romantic bond between the two spawns a child withheld from Subhadra Kunhikuttan, cruelly offending the hurt of a man denied legitimate recognition by his landlord father and now denied access to his only son. Although "Kathakali" is an art form that requires decades of patience and study to know the least about it, Mohanlal's commitment is seen throughout. Apparently it's the best Indian movie I've ever seen.