Mohanlal set for 300th film

Thiruvananthapuram Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, in the news lately over the Income Tax department raids on his house and office, completes 300 films in a career of over three decades. Two films -- one yet-unamed and directed by Sathyan Anthicadu which is being shot in Palakkad, and the other "Pranayam" directed by Blessy and slated for release next month -- are being touted as the 300th film of the versatile actor. Mohanlal, along with Mammootty, continues to reign supreme in the Malayalam film industry for the past over two decades. Following the IT raids on both the superstars across four south Indian cities, Mohanlal appears to have gone into a shell. Mohanlal, popularly known as Lal to all those in the industry, treaded the difficult path to become numero uno through his hard work, dedication and commitment. His first release came in 1980 when he played a ruthless villain in "Manjil Virinja Pookal" and hit the headlines. Through a combined effort, he and his close buddies -- ace Bollywood director Priyadarshan, veteran Malayalam producer Suresh Kumar, director Ashok Nath -- came out hugely successful. His association with Priyadarshan and Kumar launched him to the status of a star with rollicking comedy flicks like "Poochakkoru Mookkuthi", "Boeing Boeing", "Aram + Aram = Kinaram". The late 1980s and early 1990s formed the glorious era for the actor as films like "Thalavattom", "Cheppu", "Vellanakulade Nadu", "Chithram" and "Kilukam" wrote his name in golden letters in the Malayalam film industry, catapulting him to the level of a superstar. Since then, he has had a glorious innings and despite his recent films bombing at the box office, Lal along with Mammootty continues to reign as number one in the industry here. His glory reached newer heights when in 2009 he became the first filmstar to be given a honorary rank of Lt. Colonel in the Territorial Army, thanks mainly to Defence Minister A.K. Antony. Despite the glory, the 51-year-old found the going tough on two occasions recently. First, he had a verbal duel with critic and orator Sukumar Azhikode, and the outcome was a defamation case filed by the latter. Lal had to secure bail in the case. While the dust was settling on that issue, came the IT raids which found that he had unaccounted wealth and that he possesses a pair of elephant tusks, for which he had no licence to show. Now the superstar is busy with the 300th film in a long and eventful career.