It's now common knowledge of how Mohanlal's first film as a lead, Thiranottam, never saw the light of day. Fortunately, this didn't dishearten the future legend of Indian cinema. Two years later, in 1980, Mohanlal made a smashing entry into Malayalam cinema by playing the antagonist in Fazil's Manjil Virinja Pookkal. After a couple of years of playing villains, supporting characters, and parallel heroes, Mohanlal soon ascended to lead actor status, collaborating with directors like Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikad, Sibi Malayil, Padmarajan, and other fine filmmakers of the era. By the '90s, Mohanlal was already one of Indian cinema's greatest actors, a National Award-winning performer, and one of Malayalam cinema's ruling superstars (no prizes for guessing who the other one was). Happy Birthday Mohanlal! Mammootty Wishes His Dear Friend With a 'Sweet Kiss', Prithviraj Sukumaran Shares BTS Still From Empuraan.

However, like his debut film, quite a few projects starring Mohanlal either didn't take off, were abandoned midway, or were completed but left unreleased. What's more, most of these movies had exciting potential in terms of their scope and team. Out of those films, we have chosen seven that caught our interest the most.


In the early '90s, director Rajeev Anchal planned a big-budget film with Mohanlal in the lead, where he played a race-car driver. The plot was suspiciously similar to Saif Ali Khan's Tara Rum Pum. However, due to financial issues, the film couldn't be completed, although some scenes were shot. These scenes, featuring Mohanlal as the race-car driver, were included in the opening act of Butterflies, the film Rajeev eventually made with Mohanlal.


Mohanlal and his dear friend, director Priyadarshan, made several memorable films together, but some projects were shelved midway. One such film was Dhanushkodi, a crime thriller made after the success of Aryan, revolving around an undercover officer who infiltrates a drug cartel operating between India and Sri Lanka. Besides Mohanlal, the film starred Sreenivasan, Vandanam fame Girija Shettar, and the late Raghuvaran. The only proof remaining of this film is a behind-the-scenes still.


Every Mohanlal fan has heard of Randamoozham, often deemed the superstar's dream project. Based on MT Vasudevan's epic novel depicting the Mahabharata events from Bhima's perspective, the film was initially supposed to be helmed by the great Hariharan with Mohanlal in the lead. But that didn't happen. Before Odiyan was released (to a disastrous response), there was a major rumour that Randamoozham would be revived with a humongous budget of Rs 1000 crore! Thanks to the Baahubali movies, it became a trend to announce films with mega-budgets, but not all get made. Odiyan director VA Shrikumar Menon confirmed he was tasked with making Randamoozham, but after the poor reception to Odiyan, the project went silent. Mohanlal Birthday Special: 5 Cameos of the Malayalam Superstar That Show Lalettan’s Brilliance Even in Small Doses.

Mohanlal Still Hoping of Randamoozham's Revival in 2020:


Another mythological epic that went down the drain! This film would have brought two greats of Malayalam cinema, Mammootty and Mohanlal, together on screen. Based on CV Balakrishnan's novel of the same name, the film was initially to be made by KG George, with Mammootty reportedly playing the sage Jajali, who takes possession of the body of a feudal lord, Sagaradattan, played by Mohanlal. Sounds interesting? Sadly, the film was never made due to budget constraints and star date issues. Later, in 2015, there was a rumour that the film would be remade with Mohanlal playing both roles, but this also never materialised.


A movie with Mohanlal and Jackie Chan in the lead? Why did you rob us of this fantastic collaboration? Instead, we see Jackie Chan sharing the screen with Mallika Sherawat and Disha Patani in forgettable ventures like The Myth and Kung Fu Yoga. Nair-San was an ambitious film to be directed by Alberrt Antoni, intended to be a biopic of freedom fighter Aiyappan Pillai Madhavan Nair, also known as Nair-san. He founded the Indian Independence League in Japan and was closely associated with Subhash Chandra Bose. While Mohanlal was to play the lead, Jackie Chan was eyed for a crucial role as an officer in the Japanese army. However, the film never went beyond the planning stage, likely due to the Rs 400 crore budget.

Dulari Harshan

Fazil not only brought Mohanlal to the limelight with Manjil Virinja Pookal but also made some classic entertainers with him like Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku, Nokketha Dhoorathu Kannum Nattu, and Manichitrathazhu. However, did you know the filmmaker planned a movie with Mohanlal and Sridevi in the lead, with AR Rahman scoring the music? This would have marked the composer's return to Malayalam cinema after Yodha (which also had Mohanlal in the lead). Dulari Harshan - supposedly a love story involving two ghazal singers—never got made. ARR eventually returned to Malayalam cinema, scoring the background score for Malayankunju, which starred Fazil's son Fahadh Faasil, and recently scored music for Prithviraj's Aadujeevitham.

Dasanum Vijayanum

Before they broke up professionally, Rafi-Mecartin was one of the most sought-after director duos in the comedy genre. While they were riding high on success, there was a strong rumour that they were tasked with making the fourth instalment of the Nadodikattu franchise, which would have brought back Mohanlal and Sreenivasan's iconic characters on screen after years. However, the movie remained an idea and never went into production. What a shame!


Once upon a time, Ram Gopal Varma was a force majeure in Bollywood thanks to cult classics like Shiva, Raat, Rangeela, Satya, Kaun, and Company. Any project he planned came with major hype, but some never went beyond the planning stage. One such film was Ek, reportedly made on a budget of Rs 100 crore. In 2003, Rs 100 crore would have made Ek the most expensive Indian film ever. Reportedly inspired by Mackenna's Gold, the film was to feature an ensemble cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Fardeen Khan, and Nana Patekar. RGV mentioned in Sify that he approached Mohanlal for a role after their collaboration in Company. While Ek never got made - perhaps due to financial issues after its original financier Bharat Shah ran into legal trouble - Mohanlal, RGV, Amitabh Bachchan, and Ajay Devgn eventually reunited for Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. The less we remember about that, the better!

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 21, 2024 08:01 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website