Mohanlal Viswanathan, known mononymously as Mohanlal, is an Indian actor, film producer, playback singer, film distributor, and director who predominantly works in Malayalam cinema besides also having sporadically appeared in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada-language films. Mohanlal has a prolific career spanning over four decades, during which he has acted in more than 400 films. Mohanlal's contributions to the Malayalam cinema have been praised by his contemporaries in the Indian film industry. The Government of India honoured him with Padma Shri in 2001, and Padma Bhushan in 2019, India's fourth and third highest civilian honours, for his contributions to Indian cinema. In 2009, he became the first actor in India to be awarded the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army. Mohanlal was named as one of "the men who changed the face of the Indian Cinema" by CNN-News18.Mohanlal made his acting debut at age 18 in the Malayalam film Thiranottam in 1978, but the film was delayed in its release for 25 years due to censorship issues. His screen debut was in the 1980 romance film Manjil Virinja Pookkal, in which he played the antagonist. He continued to do villainous roles and rose to secondary lead roles in the following years. By the mid-1980s, he established himself as a bankable leading actor and attained stardom after starring in several successful films in 1986; the crime drama Rajavinte Makan released that year heightened his stardom. Mohanlal prefers to work in Malayalam films, but he has also appeared in some of Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films. Some of his best known non-Malayalam films include the Tamil political drama Iruvar (1997), the Hindi crime drama Company (2002) and the Telugu film Janatha Garage (2016). Mohanlal has won five National Film Awards—two Best Actor, a Special Jury Mention and a Special Jury Award for acting, and an award for Best Feature Film (as producer), also nine Kerala State Film Awards and Filmfare Awards South and numerous other accolades. He received honorary doctorates from Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in 2010 and the University of Calicut in 2018. Mohanlal is also known for his philanthropic endeavours. He founded the ViswaSanthi Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization that was started to create and deliver high-impact and focused programs to the underprivileged sections of society in the areas of Healthcare and Education.
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