Manjil Virinja Pookal: The debut film without which Mohanlal, the star, would never have been created. It was director Fazil who discovered him, a gawky teenager just out of college. He did a negative role as a sadist husband in the film, which had Shankar and Poornima Jayaram in the lead.
Mohanlal stole the thunder in the film that was a big hit. The industry saw this young hero as an impressive addition to the roster of screen villains, striking an icy menace through his dialogue delivery and body language.
Rajavinte Makan: The film proved that Mohanlal was no flash in the pan and was here to stay. As Vincent Gomez the underworld don, he proved his inborn flair for conveying the extremes of intensity and emotional fragilities. The film directed by Thampi Kannanthanam made him a mass hero as he mouthed punch line dialogues like "Yes, I am a prince…Prince of the underworld" which had the crowds clapping and going into a frenzy.
Gandhi Nagar 2nd Street: This hit film directed by Satyan Anthikkad was the actor's first full length comedy where his perfect timing for comedy was exploited. He played an unemployed youth who was forced to lie that he is Ram Singh, a Gurkha in a residential colony!
It was the beginning of a great comedy trio- Mohanlal the actor, Sreenivasan the scriptwriter and actor and director, Satyan Anthikkad.
Chitram: It was a magic combination. Director Priyadarshan is Mohanlal's childhood buddy and has directed maximum number of his films (34). Chitram was a trendsetter and a mega hit in which Mohanlal played a 'husband on hire' to a rich and arrogant girl.
The film was noted for its hilarious comedy scenes and melodious songs. This film ran for 405 days continuously at the Little Shenoys theatre in Ernakulam, a record that has not been broken even today! Chitram made Mohanlal the favourite hero among the lady audience and children of Kerala
Namukku Paarkkan Munthiri Thoppukal: This film directed and scripted by that genius, the late Padmarajan, one of the best known writers of Kerala catapulted Mohanlal as a romantic hero in Malayalam. It was a middle of the road film that attracted the attention of the younger generation as Mohanlal went on to be everybody's favourite.
Kireedom: It was Lohithadas' best written script about a loser, Sethumadhavan who is aspiring to become a cop and brilliantly played by Lal, who gets dragged into a fight with a local rowdy. This film left the Kerala audience with a lump in their throat, days after watching the film. By now Mohanlal became not only an actor but also a superstar. He got a National Special Jury Award for the role.
His Highness Abdullah: Mohanlal turned producer with this film, which had excellent script by Lohithadas and was directed by Sibi Malayil. Mohanlal played Abdullah a hired killer from Mumbai who comes in disguise as a classical singer to kill the king. The film had excellent music by Raveendran, which won a lot of accolades for Mohanlal.
Bharatham: Mohanlal's home production directed by Sibi Malayil for which he won the first National Award. The film was about the deep bonding between two brothers and the consequent tragedy caused due to petty jealousy. Mohanlal gave an outstanding performance of a younger brother groomed under the wings of his elder brother played by Nedumudi Venu, who later becomes more famous than him. The film was a blockbuster.
Devasuram: The film released in mid-nineties was the beginning of a series of Mohanlal films where he played larger-than-life characters. This film directed by I.V.Sasi had a strong script by Ranjit and the backbone of the film was the central character Neelakandan the rough and tough lovable rogue in a small village on the banks of Bharathapuzha river near Shornnur.
The film used Hindu motifs to make the hero powerful and created the impression he was an 'avtaar' of various Gods. Later it was made formulaic in Mohanlal films like Aaram Thampuran, Narasimham and Ravanaprabhu all written by Ranjit were nothing but sequels to Devasuram.
Manichitrathzhu: No two ways about it, only Mohanlal could do the role of the cool and charismatic psychiatrist who comes to treat his close friend's wife played by Shobana who is possessed by a spirit. Mohanlal dominates the film with effortless ease and distinctive style. The film was a mega hit which went down well with the classes and masses alike. This Fazil directed film was replete with breezy comedy mixed with an undercurrent of tension and fear.
Iruvar: The film is a landmark in Mohanlal's career. Fifteen years after his first film with Mohanlal, Mani Ratnam, India's finest director, went back to Mohanlal asking him to play the role of MGR in this period Tamil film. Even today Mani proudly says that it was one his best films. People who knew MGR well were amazed that Mohanlal had portrayed the legend brilliantly.
Vanaprastham: Shaji.N.Karun's classic is Mohanlal's tour-de-force. The actor produced the film himself and as Kunhikuttan the Kathakali artist it is undoubtedly his career best. It was his second National Award winning performance. The noted film critic Khalid Mohammed had written in his review of the film: "Stripping himself of all vestiges of artifice, Mohanlal inhabits his role with a searing intensity. The effect is that of an actor who has grasped the complex nuances of screen acting".
Udayananu Tharam: It is a light-hearted comedy that takes a satirical look at the tinsel town. It depicts the struggles of Udayabhanu brilliantly portrayed by Mohanlal who is an assistant director and script writer aspiring to
make it big but thwarted in his attempts by a scheming friend and junior artist.
The film has not only proved to be a blockbuster but has also turned out to be a path breaking film termed now as a cult classic. Says Mohanlal with his trademark smile "What more can I ask for"?