After being active nearly four decades in Qatar's arts and socio-cultural segments, Indian expatriate Mohan Ayroor, a noted actor in Malayalam film and television, has left the country for good with many fond memories.
“I had a good time in Doha while playing multiple roles and doing various works. I am glad that my efforts paid off well and I could pursue my dreams, thanks to Qatar,” he told Gulf Times Community
in a farewell interview.
Mohan Ayroor and his family
Mohan was born in Ayroor village in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, and his father K P John, a military official, and mother Saramaa John, wanted him to become a government official.
But little did he know when he left Kerala in 1983 for Qatar, leaving aside the dream of becoming a cine artist, that two decades later he would foray into the film industry.
Once in Qatar, Mohan started his career as an accounting assistant in a private firm in Doha and later established a photo studio.
Charishma Arts, a forum established by Mohan along with friends Dr V K Mohanan and Shaji Sebastian, proved to be a turning point in his life.
“Our initiative later resulted in the formation of many collectives, some of which are still keeping the Malayali attachment towards arts intact,” he said, adding that year-long programmes will mark the 30th anniversary of Charishma in Doha.
Mohan was deeply involved in arts and cultural activities, including penning and staging dramas in Doha. He wrote 12 dramas and acted in 50, over the years.
“Still, I wanted to do something big and I was lucky enough to receive the call to play one of the leading roles in the 2003 Malayalam hit movie Chronic Bachelor," he recalled while reliving the excitement of his film debut.
Noted Malayalam director Fazil’s brother Khais Abdul Hameed helped Mohan get selected for the film. “He was very supportive and the good gesture came after he got impressed by my stage performances,” Mohan said.
The debut with celebrated Indian actor Mammootty helped Mohan get further opportunities in the industry. He has so far acted with leading actors Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Biju Menon and Mukesh. In 2005, he got a role in the Hollywood movie, The Mistress of Spices.
“I wanted to break stereotypes and I could achieve what I wanted even though I had to wait. The charm of the silver screen is really enthusing,” he said. Mohan is now playing leading roles in popular Malayalam television serials including Kaliveedu.
Mohan has expressed his gratitude to his Doha studio manager Krishna Kumar, who used to keep the business running when the former was busy with his acting career in Kerala, with occasional trips to Qatar.
The founding president of Charishma Arts, Mohan later initiated steps to form the Confederation of Kerala Organisations, an apex body of around 50 organisations in Qatar. He was also a founding member of Indian Cultural Centre and the Indian Community Benevolent Forum.
Mohan’s wife Usha worked with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) as a nurse. His elder daughter Punchiri is working with HMC as project co-ordinator, second daughter Panchami is a clinical psychologist in Kuwait, and third daughter Paurnnami is a business operations executive in Bengaluru, India.