Press Trust of India
September 24, 2012 11:37 IST
The actor was in a critical condition after suffering two heart attacks.
An imposing presence on the Malayalam screen, Thilakan carved for himself an enviable position among actors in the last three decades of his film career with a rare versatility and genius.
As many film-makers and actors openly acknowledge, it will be a void very hard to fill. Mr Thilakan's colleagues in Malayalam filmdom had often stated that a positive energy flowed from him while doing combination scenes.
Mr Thilakan (77), who died in the wee hours following cardiac arrest, had a special `chemistry' with Mohanlal with whom he
had acted in numerous films. He had a role to play in most of the superstar's hit movies.
Starting his career as a theatre artiste in the midst of his intermediate course, Mr Thilakan lent life to many strong characters in plays staged by various drama troupes including pro-Communist Kerala Peoples' Arts Centre (KPAC).
He was associated with the KPAC till 1966 before joining another famous drama troupe, Kalidasa Kalakendram. Later he
associated himself with renowned stage actor P J Antony, who won the national award for best actor for his sterling
performance in Nirmalyam in 1970s .
Mr Thilakan also lent his voice to many radio plays and he was a virtual presence for listeners of All India Radio. Even last
year, he did a solo performance in a radio play `Otta' which had only a single character in it.
With a solid background through years of acting on stage, he outshone almost all other actors in Malayalam when it came
to doing character roles.
One of the finest actors in Indian cinema, Mr Thilakan appeared on screen for the first time in 1979 when director K G George offered him a minor role in his film Ulkadal.
He again acted in the director's next films two Kolangal and Yavanika (1981). For his role in Yavanika, Thilakan got the state government's best supporting actor award.
In his prolific career, Mr Thilakan acted in over 300 films which left none in doubt about the range of his acting. He doned the role of a villain or comic character with the same ease with which he did his character roles.
Kireetam, Perumthachan, Irakal, Moonnam Pakkam, Sphadikam, Santhanagopalam, Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu
and Kattukuthira are some of the films in which Thilakan did defining roles.
In films like Pattana Pravesam, Nadodikkattu and Sanmanassullavarku Samadhanam, he had the viewers in
splits, while the villain roles in films like Namukku Parkan Munthirithoppukal were exemplary by any standard.
An outspoken person, Thilakan often got embroiled in controversies in the twilight of his career.
The actor's self-conviction on certain issues was often mistaken for arrogance in the film field.
He took up cudgels against the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes, alleging that it was of late behaving like a trade union and a mafia gang run by superstars without caring for the welfare of actors.
Film Employees Federation of Kerala had for a short period placed an unofficial `ban' on him by influencing producers and
directors not to include him in their projects.
However, Mr Thilakan's talent was something that film-makers could never overlook.
He made a forceful comeback last year with a strong character in Indian Rupee directed by Ranjith, which fetched him the second best actor award of the state government for a sixth time.
Ustad Hotel in which he acts along with Dulqar Salman, Mammootty's son and the new face in Malayalam, is the latest
film he acted in, besides a small role in Spirit.
Mr Thilakan was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2009. He got the national award for best supporting actor in 1988 for the
performance in `Rithubhedangal.' Later, in 2007 he got a special mention from the national Jury for his role in Ekantham.
He got the state government's best actor award twice-- for Perumthachan in 1990 and Santhanagopalam and Gamanam in 1994. He received the second best actor award of the state government six times.
Mr Thilakan was honoured by Asianet Television channel in 2001 and Filmfare in 2005 with life-time achievement awards.