Who gets you going?
The free flowing artist or the meticulous architect?
Being the older of the two by nine years - you don't quite believe it, do you? - Mammootty got out of the blocks earlier than Mohanlal, but for the most part the two careers have overlapped. Thirty years and counting prove they have both lasted the course, but their career trajectories have taken different paths.
Mohanlal threw the early punch, and that too with his first movie - 'Manjil Virinja Pookal', in which he played a loathsome villain. However, it took some time before the audience could make sense of the actor who, with every new movie, kept prodding them to take notice of him. Lal was unlike anyone Malayalam cinema had seen before. His face was asymmetrical and his right shoulder was stooped, and he wasn't doing things the way movie lovers were used to seeing on screen.
Mammootty did it the more conventional way, riding on his good looks and banking on a voice that could reflect, and reflect well, anything from pain to rage. There were shades of Sathyan and Sukumaran in Mammootty's performances when he started out, but he shed the excess baggage soon enough.