An actor whose repertoire extends to more than 300 films, with five National Awards, six State Awards, and 8 Filmfare awards, Mohanlal is the gold standard of performance in Malayalam cinema. Over the years, Lal ettan (brother), as he is lovingly known, has delivered performances that range from the comic to serious and casual. His ability to tap into the pulse of the common man and deliver a casual ordinariness to his performances has made him an endeared name to lovers of Malayalam cinema. Mohanlal is a name at par with Mammooty, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan in South India. His ability to deliver the most complex emotions in an effortless way defines his talent.
While the great actor has made quite an impact in Hindi cinema too, with his rare appearance in Ram Gopal Varma's Company (2002), a number of his films have been transported to the Hindi film industry. While director Priyadarshan can lay claim to a majority of them, the films have often had a mixed repertoire of success in the north. Perhaps, the absence of the great Lal ettan was a reason for that.
As the great man turns 57, we take a look at 10 of his best works that were remade in Hindi.
Poochakkoru Mookkuthi (1984) into Hungama (2003)
The list undoubtedly has to begin with Priyadarshan's 1984 screwball comedy, Poochakkoru Mookutthi. An ensemble comedy, it was also the debut of Priyadarshan. The director would go on to remake his own film quite successfully in Hungama (2003). However, Akshaye Khanna could never replicate the simple elegance and sarcasm that Mohanlal delivers in this scene.
2. Boeing Boeing (1985) to Garam Masala (2005)
The magic touch of Priyadarshan-Mohanlal-Mukesh found the perfect harmony in this classic comedy. Playing the casanova pilot who tries to date more than one girl at a time, Mohanlal is in a completely different zone. It is no surprise that when the director remade the film as Garam Masala in Hindi, he had to look for an equally, earthy, funny, and stylish hero in Akshay Kumar.
3. Thalavattam (1986) into Kyon Ki... (2005)
Adapted from Ken Kesey's iconic novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Priyadarshan's film was one of the blockbusters of Malayalam cinema in the year 1986. Sadly, its Hindi remake in 2005, Kyon Ki..., ended up being a dismal one. One has to admit, Salman Khan is no Jack Nicholson, or Mohanlal.
4. Vellanakalude Nadu (1988) into Khatta Meetha (2010)
It is not that the actor-director duo could only do comedy. This 1988 classic satire on the municipal mafia system in Kerala remains a classic in the Mohanlal filmography. Based on O Henry's short story, After Twenty Years, it was remade in 2010 as Khatta Meetha. Again, it was Akshay Kumar who replaced the actor in the Hindi remake by Priyadarshan, Khatta Meetha (2010)
5. Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam (1986) into Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar (2001)
In this comedy by Sathyan Anthikkad, the actor played a debt ridden houseowner trying to get his tenants to vacate by hook or crook. A critical and commercial success, it took another decade and half before Priyadarshan remade it in Hindi. Titled Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar, the film had Sunil Shetty in the lead.
6. Kireedam (1989) into Gardish (1993)
This film won the actor a Special Jury Award at the 1990 National awards. Playing the young unemployed son of a constable who is dragged into the murky underworld, Mohanlal displayed the angst and intensity that would become his hallmark. In 1993, Priyadarshan remade the film as Gardish, with Jackie Shroff cast in the Malayalam actor's shoes. It proved to be a cult hit, earning Shroff a Best Actor nomination at the Filmfare Awards that year.
7.Kilukkam (1991) into Muskurahat (1992)
One of the highest grossing films of its time, Kilukkam saw Priyadarshan combine the talents of Revathi, Mohanlal and Jagathy Sreekumar for a musical romantic comedy. The film won 5 awards at the Kerala State Awards, including Best Actor for Mohanlal. Sadly, its remake in Hindi, Muskurahat (1992), had Jay Mehta in the lead role. Safe to say, Lal ettan was never under any danger of being overshadowed.
8. Thenmavin Kombathu (1994) into Saat Rang Ke Sapne (1998)
This film brings together Mohanlal, RD Burman and Rajinikanth in trivia universe. It was this classic by Priyadarshan that was remade as Muthu (1995), which led the Japanese to fall in love with the great Rajinikanth. As for Mohanlal, the film enhanced his reputation with musical romances, winning five major awards at the Kerala State Awards in 1995.
The film was one of the last signed by RD Burman. However, the great composer passed away before he could start work on the project. It eventually went to Berny-Ignatius. While the Tamil film worked wonders, the Hindi remake had Arvind Swamy and Juhi Chawla in the lead. It sank without a trace, leading to a lull in Priyadarshan's Hindi cinema career.
9. Manichitrathazu (1993) - Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)
If you had to watch a film, it has to be this. Remade in Tamil with Rajinikanth, and in Hindi with Akshay, Manichitrathazhu is a wonderful little package that combines comedy with horror. It won Shobana the Best Actress gong at the National Awards in 1993, but it was the Hindi remake that walked away with the moolah. Remade by Priyadarshan himself with Akshay and Vidya Balan replacing Mohanlal and Shobana, the film was a blockbuster hit.
10. Drishyam (2013) into Drishyam (2015)
Already being praised as a classic thriller, Drishyam was proof of the actor's deep reservoir of talent. Playing an ordinary cable operator who covers up a murder based on his encyclopaedic knowledge of films, Mohanlal delivered a masterclass. The film was remade in four languages, with Ajay Devgn playing the role in the Hindi version. It went on to be a critical and commercial success at the box office.