Lal is an Indian actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and distributor. He is known for his work in Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu films. In 2023, he appeared in the Malayalam film ‘2018’ which is based on the true events and stories during floods in Kerala in 2018.
Lal was born as M. P. Michael on Tuesday, 2 December 1958 (age 64 years; as of 2022) in Kerala. He did his schooling at St. Augustine’s High School, Ernakulam, Kerala.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is M. A. Paul, and his mother’s name is Philomina. His brother, Alex Paul, is a music composer in the Malayalam film industry.
Wife & Children
He got married to Nancy Lal in 1987. The couple together has a daughter named Monica Lal, and a son named Jean Paul Lal (popularly known as Lal Jr.), who is an actor and director in the Malayalam film industry.
The actor and singer Balu Varghese is his nephew.
Lal and Siddique started their career as mimicry artists in Cochin Kalabhavan, a centre for learning performing arts in Kochi, India. He, and Siddique, later formed a filmmaking duo named ‘Siddique-Lal.’ At the beginning of their career, the duo ‘Siddiqui-Lal’ avoided making films on superstar formula and decided not to cast Mohanlal and Mammootty in their films; however, the partners later changed their decision for their fourth venture, the Malayalam film ‘Vietnam Colony’ (1992) by casting Mohanlal in the lead role. In 1994, they cast the superstars Innocent and Jagathy Sreekumar in their fifth film ‘Kabooliwala.’ Siddique–Lal has made various blockbuster films some of which include ‘Pappan Priyapatta Pappan’ (1986), ‘Ramji Rao Speaking’ (1989), ‘In Harihar Nagar’ (1990), ‘Godfather’ (1991), and ‘Manichitrathazhu’ (1993). In 1994, the duo decided to part ways after which Siddique turned a director and Lal turned actor. However; the duo reunited after two decades to co-write the screenplay of the Malayalam film ‘King Liar’ in 2016.
Lal made his acting debut with a cameo appearance in the film ‘Manathe Kottaram’ in 1994; however, he played his first remarkable role in the film ‘Kaliyattam’ (1997), based on the famous drama ‘Othello’ by Shakespeare. In the film, he played the role of Paniyan, the character who stands for Iago.
In 2012, he played the double role of Thanu Pillai, and his father, Sivan Pillai, in the film ‘Ozhimuri.’ He has appeared in various Malayalam films including ‘Mazha’ (2000), ‘Kalyanaraman’ (2002), ‘The Don’ (2006), ‘Unnam’ (2012), ‘Fukri’ (2017), and ‘Mahaveeryar’ (2022), and ‘2018’ (2023).
Lal made his Tamil film debut with ‘Engal Anna’ (2004) in which he played the double role of Sundaralingam and Veerapandi. His performance as Eshwaramurthy in the Tamil film ‘Taanakkaran’ (2022) received huge appreciation from the audience. He played the role of Tirukoilur Malaiyaman in the films ‘Ponniyin Selvan: I’ (2022) and ‘Ponniyin Selvan: II’ (2023). Some of his most notable Tamil films include ‘Aalwar’ (2007), ‘Kutti Puli’ (2013), ‘God Father’ (2020), and ‘The Warriorr’ (2022).
In 2006, he appeared in the film ‘Khatarnak’ as a smuggler. In 2022, he played the role of Kumarappa in the film ‘The Warriorr;’ the film was also released in the Tamil language. He worked in a few more Telugu films such as ‘Annavaram’ (2006), ‘Saaho’ (2019), and ‘Veera Simha Reddy’ (2023).
Producer, Distributor & Director
Lal debuted as a producer with the Malayalam film ‘Hitler’ in 1996. He has also worked as a distributor in the Malayalam film industry. Some of the Malayalam films in which he worked as a producer and distributor include ‘Thenkasipattanam’ (2000), ‘Kalyanaraman’ (2002), ‘Black’ (2004), and ‘Panthaya Kozhi’ (2007).
He made his comeback as a director after the split of ‘Siddique-Lal’ with the 2009 Malayalam film ‘2 Harihar Nagar,’ which is a sequel to the film ‘In Harihar Nagar.’ He has directed various films among which some of the most notable include ‘In Ghost House Inn’ (2010), ‘Tournament’ (2010), ‘Cobra’ (2012), ‘King Liar’ (2016), and ‘HoneyBee 2.5’ (2017).
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- In 1991, Lal won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value for the film ‘Godfather’ (1991).
- He won an award for Best Actor at the Kerala State Film Awards 2008 for his performance in the Malayalam film ‘Thalappavu’ (2008).
- In 2010, he received the Asianet Film Award for Best Director for the Malayalam film ‘In Ghost House Inn.’
- In 2012, he won the Vanitha Film Award for Best Star Pair (shared with Shwetha Menon) for the film ‘Salt N’ Pepper.’
- In 2023, he won an award for ‘Best Actor in a Negative Role’ at Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards 2022 for the film ‘Tanakkarn.’
- In September 2023, he won the Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Malayalam) award for the film ‘Mahaveeryar’ at the South Indian International Movie Awards (SIIMA), held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE.
- In 2000, he worked as a writer for the Bollywood blockbuster film ‘Hera Pheri,’ starring Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, and Paresh Rawal.
- Apart from filmmaking, he has a keen interest in music.
- In an interview, the actor expressed regret for working in a rummy advertisement during the COVID-19 pandemic. He revealed that he did the advertisement to earn some money as he had some financial issues at that time. He also apologised to the audience who might have fallen into any tragedy after watching his ad. While talking about this in the interview, he said,
It’s just that I acted in an advertisement for a product. They approached me with the permission of the government. Many actors have done such ads before me. I committed to this ad because I had some financial issues during the Covid time. If that ad has caused harm to anyone, I am really sorry for that. Please don’t think I am saying this because I feel like I did something wrong.” Onmanorama