Mohanlal hopes to revive his winning ways with the multi-starrer ‘Christian Brothers.'

For more than three decades, Mohanlal's films reigned supreme at the box office. However, 2010 was annus horribilis, as far as Mohanal, the actor, was concerned. His films behaved like many of the villains in his blockbusters. Much-hyped movies that came with a lot of bluster and chest-thumping were soundly thrashed at the box office.

But the thespian hopes to revive his winning ways in 2011 with the multi-starrer ‘Christian Brothers,' which is releasing today in 300 centres all over India and abroad.

“It is indeed fun shooting for multi-starrers. In a multi-starrer, there are more actors to shoulder the responsibility of a film. Perhaps we have more freedom as well. I love doing such films, as there is nothing to beat a collective effort. We have also completed the shooting of ‘China Town' (directed by Rafi-Mecartin, with Jayaram and Dileep teaming up with Mohanlal) quite recently,” says the hero.

The best thing about acting, he feels, is that one never stops learning, as the roles are very different from one another. “It is great that the fire is there within. Facing the camera still makes me nervous. Acting doesn't come so easily and obviously it takes time to get into the shoes of a character even after so many years. Even when I was learning some steps for a dance sequence for ‘Christian Brothers,' there was some tension until we got it right. Looking back, I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with several stalwarts over the years, some of whom are no longer with us,” he says.

Mohanlal is the only contemporary Malayalam actor who has won critical acclaim in Tamil and Hindi too for ‘Iruvar' (directed by Mani Ratnam) and ‘Company,' (directed by Ram Gopal Varma), respectively.

No more Tweets

The actor constantly strives to reinvent himself by acting in plays and supporting art house ventures. For a while, he was busy on the social networking site Twitter. But his philosophical tweets came to an abrupt end recently. “I joined Twitter with good intentions but some people found malice in that as well. Moreover, I find it difficult replying to the tweets that I get. I have seen actors like Amitabh Bachchan tweeting almost all the time and I decided to stop it before it became an addiction.”

His endorsing of certain products also drew flak. “That was not the only ad I did. I have done several ads to promote social awareness and began a trend by doing jewellery ads, earlier regarded as a woman's territory.”

He has his share of flops but believes that it is all part of the game. Mohanlal finds it odd when many in the industry talk about “bringing back the old Mohanlal.”

“Why should you dwell on the past? I don't think there is any point in comparing the new roles and the old ones. Those films were made at a different period of time and it would be redundant to do them again. It would be tough to make a ‘Poochakkoru Mookkuthi,' a ‘Thalavattam' or a ‘Kilukkam' now. Instead, films such as ‘Paradesi' or ‘Bhramaram' are being made now. You evolve as an actor and are striving for improvement all the time. If I am asked to pick my best film, my answer would be that it hasn't come yet and that it will happen in the future,” he says.

Mohanlal feels there is a dearth of fresh talent in Malayalam when compared to the film industries in other States. “Good stories should happen but we are in a hurry here. It takes some time to learn things. The youngsters elsewhere are more passionate about the medium and they get appreciated by the audience too. I have been reading lots of scripts but rarely does some one come to me with a story that doesn't resemble some film made in the past,” explains the actor.

Action thriller

Among his forthcoming films, director Rosshan Andrrews' ‘Casanova' is nearing completion. “It is an action thriller that will be a visual treat. It has been made in a spectacular way at exotic locations. We believe that concepts are changing and this will be a film that would be on a par with certain big budget films in other languages.”

Mohanlal has also completed a Hindi film, ‘Tez,' with director Priyadarsan and will soon be shooting for his Malayalam film, ‘Arabiyum Ottakavum P. Madhavan Nairum.' “We have done more than 40 films together and share a really close friendship. Actors are queuing up to work with Priyan and I am proud that my name is always associated with him. I was pulling his leg for not casting me in his Hindi films and out of the blue he rang me up and cast me in ‘Tez.' The whole set-up resembled an English set with so many foreign technicians. I play a British police officer in the film.”

Priyadarsan has remade most of their films in Bollywood but Mohanlal says that he hasn't seen any of them. Although

he rarely watches any of his old movies, he enjoys watching Hollywood action flicks. Inspite of being in the thick of movies, he hasn't given a thought about directing a film and “if ever I direct one, it will be an action movie.”