Says Mohanlal, "Jackie Chan appears in a major action sequence with me. I'm trying to physically prepare for the role. I've already shot for about 150 days for Nair San in Japan and Mongalia. I'm the first actor from Malyalam cinema to feature in a Japanese film. I've to speak not only in Japanese, but also in Chinese and Mongolian."
Nair San will be subtitled in English and released all over the world. The action scene with Jackie Chan will be shot in Mongolia. Says Mohanlal, "Nair was an Indian freedom fighter. I've met the man. He owns a chain of restaurants. I've been to his restaurant in Tokyo. And he has been to my home in Kerala. He passed away at the age of 85-86. I feel very privileged to be playing Nair."
Though Kamal Haasan got Hong Kong's superstar Jackie Chan to come for a music release in Chennai, no Indian male actor has had the privilege of sharing screen space with Jackie Chan. Laughs Mohanlal, "Like I said, I'm lucky. Nair San will definitely get wide release in Japan."
Interestingly, Mohanlal's southern colleague Rajnikanth is a craze in Japan. Speaking on the failure of Rajnikanth's new film Kuselan, Mohanlal observes, "Actors like Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth are larger than life. They cannot be accepted in guest roles. I can get away with small cameos, off beat roles, walk-on parts anything. I'm playing a 90- year old man in a new film. There're some actors in this country like Amitabh Bachchan, Chiranjeevi, Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth who are beyond success and failure. They're blessed people. If you say I am one of them then I too am blessed."
Mohanlal's new Malayalam release Akashagoparam is the first film that language to be based on an Ibsen play. "I can tell you this much. Ibsen at this point of time couldn't be done in any other language but Malayalam. I'm fortunate to have done it. As an actor it's my job to do the best of the roles I get. However, the roles have to come to me. I can't go after the roles."
Says the softspoken actor, "It was the director K P Kumaran's dream for twenty years. He had been pursuing me for fifteen years to do a screen adaptation of Ibsen's play. I finally agreed. Ibsen's The Master Builder is a complicated play. I've done stage plays including a play in Sanskrit. But Ibsen is tough. However, I treated the film like any other. I play an architect. Changes were made. For example, my character's Norwegian name was changed for the Indian audience."
Mohanlal has also finished a war film Kuruskshetra on the Kargil war. "It's a major film."
About his last aborted foray in Bollywood, Mohanlal says he has no regrets about doing Ram Gopal Varma's Aag. "People just pounced on Ramu. They forgot how much he has achieved in the past. Such things happen. In fact, Priyadarshan has just offered me a role in a Hindi film to be done in the middle of next year. I get a lot of Hindi films. But they don't interest me. But I'll do Priyan's film. It's 12-13 day film. It isn't a conventional Hindi film. It has a message on AIDS. Priyan is returning to his roots. He recently did a fantastic Malayalam film called Kanjeevaram. I was supposed to do it. But I couldn't. Now I'm looking forward to working with him and to doing a Hindi film."