Let me start this birthday feature of one of the greatest living legends in acting business is that 21st century may have been great for Mohanlal the superstar. But never for Mohanlal the actor. And it is this second aspect of Lalettan that I prefer over the first, though of course Mohanlal's mass image has produced some very guilty pleasure movies. Mohanlal Birthday Special: 15 Quirky Phrases of the Malayalam Superstar That Became Part of Our Vocabulary.

But as a evolving lover of Malayalam cinema growing up on the movies of '80s and '90s, I would rather prefer Mohanlal from a Kireedam, Yodha, Nadodikattu, Manichitratazhu, Vandanam, Chitram, Lal Salaam, Abhimanyu over any of his superstar movies of this century. Yes, I am biased for movies that came in the period that came in the transformation from Mohanlal the superstar to Mohanlal the megastar.

However, 21st century did have some good Mohanlal movies, and on the occasion of the superstar's birthday, we look at seven of best movies released after 2000, ranked as per IMDb rating (more than 1000 votes). Starting in an ascending order...

Lucifer (2019)

Mohanlal in Lucifer

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Prithviraj Sukumaran made his directorial debut with this mass political entertainer, with Mohanlal in the lead. The film also featured an ensemble cast including Manju Warrier, Vivek Oberoi, Tovino Thomas, with the director himself taking on a supporting role. Lucifer is currently the highest grossing Malayalam film. Lucifer Movie Review: Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Directorial Debut Is A Cliched But Stylishly Shot Fanboy Tribute to Mohanlal’s Mass Persona.

Company (2002)

Mohanlal in Company

IMDb Rating: 7.9

Mohanlal's Hindi debut comes in this gangster drama, directed by Ram Gopal Varma. Also starring Ajay Devgn and Vivek Oberoi, Company has Mohanlal play a shrewd police commissioner, based on the real-life former Police Commissioner of Mumbai, Dhanushkodi Sivanandhan, and the role won him lot of acclaim.

Udayananu Tharam (2005)

Mohanlal in Udayananu Tharam

IMDb Rating: 7.9

Director Rosshan Andrrews made a smashing debut in Malayalam cinema with an ode to the industry itself. Mohanlal plays an experienced Associate Director who is looking to make his directorial debut only for Sreenivasan's character to steal his script and become a superstar in Mollywood.

Unnaipol Oruvan (2009)

Mohanlal in Unnaipol Oruvan

IMDb Rating: 8.0

This Tamil remake of the Hindi thriller A Wednesday brings two heavyweights of Indian cinema - Kamal Haasan and Mohanlal - together for the first time. With Mohanlal playing a top crime and Kamal playing a mysterious man threatening to bomb the city, the movie features some powerful acting from these two. Mohanlal Birthday Special: 5 Cameos of the Malayalam Superstar That Show Lalettan’s Brilliance Even in Small Doses.

Drishyam (2013)

Mohanlal in Drishyam

IMDb Rating: 8.3

You expected this one, didn't you? This Jeethu Joseph movie is not only considered as one of the best thrillers in Malayalam cinema - featuring an awesome twist -  but also i Indian cinema. Drishyam has been remade other languages, and proved to be blockbusters there as well.

Thanmathra (2005)

Mohanlal in Thanmathra

IMDb Rating: 8.4

This Blessy film has Mohanlal play an upright government employee and an ideal family man, who suffers from Alzheimer's, resulting in a slow and painful devolvement of his psyche. It is one of the best dramatic performances, for which he was cruelly ignored at the National Awards. Mohanlal Birthday Special: 5 Comic Roles and 5 Tragic Performances of the Malayalam Superstar That Will Mesmerise You Forever!

Drishyam 2 (2021)

Mohanlal in Drishyam 2

IMDb Rating: 8.8

When the sequel to Drishyam was announced, we were wary. Why was the need to extend what had been a perfect ending? The fact that Drishyam 2 went straight to OTT, made our fears even stronger. But Jeethu Joseph surprised the hell out of us delivering yet another terrific thriller, that not only is a fine continuation to the original story, but also keeps the door slightly ajar for future return of its brilliant protagonist, Georgekutty.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 21, 2021 12:01 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).