THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Malayalam mega star Mammootty turned 71 on Wednesday and among the birthday wishes that flooded social media there was a special one by Mohanlal for his ''Ichakka'' or big brother.
''We may not be related by blood, but he has always been an elder brother to me. He is not like a brother to me, but is my brother,'' superstar Mohanlal said in his video message wishing happy birthday to Mammootty.
In the message, which was accompanied with a background music of 'Yeh Dosti' song from the Superhit Hindi movie 'Sholay,' Mohanlal said the relations among people are either by birth or by their actions and the latter describes his relationship with Mammootty.
''He (Mammootty) has encouraged me with his love in both my personal and professional life. It is not an easy task to continue to be an inspiration for so many generations of actors for so many decades. ''I pray that you can bring to life even more characters. Lots of love and prayers,'' he said in the video message. Besides Mohanlal, birthday wishes also poured in from people from all walks of life, including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who wished Mammootty on Instagram.
Actors, including Prithviraj and Gokul Suresh, as well as political leaders like BJP state president K Surendran wished the mega star on Twitter.
''Birthday wishes to the legendary film actor Padma Shri Bharat @mammukka. Undoubtedly he is one of the finest actors in the world of cinema—my prayers for his good health and happiness. #Mammookka,'' Surendran tweeted.
''Happy birthday Megastar! @mammukka,'' Prithviraj said in a tweet.
''Mammookkaa!! My happiest birthday wishes to you! Keep amazing us with your endless charm! @mammukka #HBDMammootty #HappyBirthdayMammukka,'' Gokul Suresh, son of veteran actor and former Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi, tweeted.
Even though a lot of new faces are coming into the Malayalam film industry and several old ones are making successful comebacks, Mammootty's position as a mega star is still intact with over 400 films in various languages including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and English besides Malayalam in a career spanning over five decades.
Three national awards, seven state and 13 film fare awards, Padma Shri and two honorary doctorate degrees were the proof for his acting excellence and mass fan following.
Some of his popular movies include ''New Delhi'', ''Thaniyavarthanam'', ''Oru Vadakkan Veera Gatha'', ''Oru CBI Dairy kurupuu'', ''Kutty Sranku'', ''Paleri Manikyam Oru Pathira Kolapaathakam'' and so on.
He has worked with critically acclaimed directors including Adoor Gopalakrishnan, K G George and T V Chandran and hit-makers like I V Sasi, Joshi, Ranjith, Anward Rasheed and so on.
His debut was the 1971 movie 'Anubhavangal Palichakal' and this year till now three of his movies have been released of which 'Bheeshma Parvam' was a superhit and one of the highest grossing films of 2022 till date.
Besides movies, the actor also does several charity initiatives through his organisation ''Care and Share International Foundation''.