Even after several blockbuster films across four decades, superstar Mohanlal says he still feels the pressure to deliver, a feeling that has not let him take his success for granted. The multiple National Award winner, who is gearing up for the release of the much-awaited sequel to "Drishyam", said without the support of a dedicated team, it is difficult to bring movies like his 2013 Malayalam film to life.
Mohanlal, who predominantly works in Malayalam cinema, started acting as a teenager in the late 1970s, but rose to prominence in the '80s with dramas like "Kireedam", "Rajavinte Makan".
What followed were several hits, including the 1987 comedy "Nadodikkattu", thriller "No 20 Madras Mail" (1990) and action drama "Spadikam" in 1995.
His hit streak continues even three decades later, with blockbusters like the thriller "Drishyam", fantasy drama "Odiyan" (2018) and the 2019 action drama "Lucifer".
"As an actor, the pressure to do well is always there. You can't allow yourself to take things for granted and let arrogance get in the way.
Even to bring out a film like 'Drishyam 2', you need a minimum of 7-8 years to bring out the best in terms of characters, emotions and intelligence.
"Our director and our team worked so hard to make it possible. But we had the confidence that even if it takes 10 years to do so, the audience will wait because they know that the result will be good," Mohanlal, 60, told PTI in an email interview.
Directed by Jeethu Joseph, "Drishyam" chronicles the struggle of Georgekutty (Mohanlal) and his family, who come under suspicion when the son of the Inspector General of Police gets killed.
The upcoming follow-up will see Mohanlal reprise the role of Georgekutty, who transitions from being a cable TV service provider to an aspiring film producer.
But the ghost of the past still haunts the family, as they try to come to terms with the crime.
The actor said both he and Joseph wanted to work on a sequel of the film for the longest, but it only materialized when the director approached him with an idea.
"While 'Drishyam 2' started rolling in Jeethu's head, we were clueless about what was happening with the sequel since we didn't know whether it was even happening or not. But the sequel had to happen, it is a cult film after all. The audience remembers Georgekutty and his family and we had to give them a sequel."
The thriller was remade in several languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Chinese (Mandarin) and Sinhalese. In fact, its Hindi adaptation led by Ajay Devgn, portraying Mohanlal's role and Tabu playing the Inspector General of Police, originally essayed by Asha Sarath, was a huge success.
Mohanlal said one of the reasons why "Drishyam" was accepted universally was because of its ability to blend emotions with thrill. "We all were left surprised seeing how many times the film got remade in multiple languages. We never thought that 'Drishyam' would be such a huge success.
"When we saw the film, we thought it was good but we didn't know that it would be loved by the fans so much. It took us a month or two to realise that the movie has surpassed all our expectations," he added.
Produced by Antony Perumbavoor under the banner of Aashirvad Cinemas, "Drishyam 2" is all set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on February 19. Amid several fan theories that the film has the potential to continue as a franchise, Mohanlal said he "wouldn't deny the possibility of a third part".
"But that will be Jeethu's call entirely. For all we know, he might bring 'Drishyam 3' in another six-seven year. We'll just have to wait and watch," he added.
"Drishyam 2" also stars Meena, Siddique, Sarath, Murali Gopy, Ansiba, Esther and Saikumar in pivotal roles.