Does Mohanlal really know how to act? I hope fans never get to hear this conversation. But the truth is that this question was raised many times seriously even since his maiden film ‘Manjil Virinja Pookkal‘ days. Actually he came close to even getting out of that audition by majority of jury who were present there. But one saving grace for him was the conviction and intuition of director Fazil and producer Jijo.
Acting is reacting
When the Drishyam shooting was happening, the director’s wife Linda Jeethu who was also the costume designer of the film had serious concerns about Mohanlal’s acting in the film. This was because it didn’t look like the concept of acting, it was like he was not that excited. The same complaint was raised recently by an assistant director when he was shooting for Surya’s Kappan. But in both cases where they got their shock was when the film got edited. After seeing the final edit everyone was surprised to see that the those shots which looked not that exciting before the edit looked perfect after. So the real question is how Lal fools all these people? I think in finding the answer to these question there lies a great secret. About his secret of acting and about himself too.
Before coming to all these questions lets see how Mohanlal style of acting works and what is the philosophy behind it. The one topic Lal always love to talk about is the attachment and detachment. When he is acting also its an attachment-detachment process for him. He never gets too attached to a character. By just being in that moment only he gets out of it immediately once the shot is over. It’s a completely opposite process compared to the famous systematic acting and an unthinkable one for a lot of actors. As he himself has said he doesn’t like to prepare consciously for any role, it’s more of a subconscious process for him.
Many people who are closely attached to him often said that he is like a bloating paper. He just observes and absorbs everything around him. It is possible that it comes out of him spontaneously at the right moment between the action and cut even without his own knowledge. I think this is one of the reasons why his acting gets as organic as possible. When something that comes out of his mind is a surprise for him it is definitely going to be a much bigger surprise for the audience. So he is as spontaneous as one can get.
But one problem associated with too much spontaneity is that it becomes subtle beyond a point. This is because here the Mohanlal the actor does not care a bit about how his face or his expression appears to other people. While shooting for an important scene in Manichithrathazhu, director Fazil felt Mohanlal’s acting as a bit lagging. When it was conveyed to Lal it was not a surprise that he was not even remembering a thing which was happened just a few minutes back. He is inside of that situation and character so much so that him as a person does not exist. It is here that we must remember his statement comparing acting to meditation. Its also a well known fact that he is too much into spirituality and related matters. So we can clearly assume that the spiritual side of Mohanlal, the person must be helping Mohanlal the actor.
So the question comes again. Why the live audience of Mohanlal always get fooled while the same people get excited and surprised watching him on big screen? (to be continued – Part 2)