1986 was one of his best years. Sathyan Anthikkad's T.P. Balagopalan M.A. got him his first Kerala State award for best actor. His role of an underworld don in Rajavinte Makan saw the emergence of Mohanlal as one of the leading stars of Malayalam cinema along with Mammootty. In the same year, he played an asylum outmate in Thalavattam, a harassed house-owner in Sanmanassu Ullavarku Samadhanam, a journalist in M. T. Vasudevan Nair's Panchagni, a farm owner in love in Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal and an unemployed youth forced to become a Goorkha in Gandhi Nagar 2nd street.
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