K. Surendranatha Thilakan (15 July 1935 – 24 September 2012) was a veteran Indian film and stage actor who appeared in over 200 Malayalam films. Known for his elaborate method acting, realistic and spontaneous appearances, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of Indian cinema. He has won 3 National Film Awards and 11 Kerala State Film Awards. The Government of India honored him with the Padma Shri in 2009 for his contributions towards the arts. He died on 24 September 2012 at the age of 77. He holds the record of receiving Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Actor the highest number of times (6 times), till date.
K. Surendranatha Thilakan
15 June 1935
|Died||24 September 2012 (aged 77)|
|Years active||1956 – 1978 (stage)|
1972, 1979 – 2012 (film)
Moonnam Pakkam (1988)
Ustad Hotel (2012)
Shammi Thilakan (Son)
Shobi Thilakan (Son)
|Awards||2009 Padma Shri|
Best Supporting Actor
Thilakan started his full-time career in acting after leaving college in the year 1956. During this period he and several friends formed a drama troupe called the Mundakayam Nataka Samithy in Mundakayam, where his father was working as an estate supervisor. He worked with the Kerala People's Arts Club till 1966, followed by stints in Kalidasa Kala Kendra, Changanacherry Geetha, and P. J. Antony's troupe. He also performed in several radio plays presented by All India Radio.
Thilakan began his career in cinema with a role in the P. J. Antony-directed Malayalam movie Periyar (1973). He then worked in Gandharvakshetram and Ulkadal (1979). His first role as a lead character was as Kallu Varkey, a drunkard in Kolangal (1981). Thilakan was awarded his first Kerala State Film Awards in 1982 for his role in Yavanika.
In 1988, he received the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Rithubhedam, and again in 1994. In 1998, he won State awards for Santhanagopalam and Gamanam. He was strongly favored to get another National Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in the movie Perumthachan, but the award was given to Amitabh Bachchan over Thilakan amidst suspicions of strong lobbying, as Amitabh had announced his retirement earlier that year. The film Kireedam was a milestone in Thilakan's career; in this film, he portrayed a helpless policeman silently watching the fate of his son, played by Mohanlal, who was corrupted by society's influences. In 1989 he performed in Mrugya, in which his role of a Reverend Father Panangodan was well appreciated by critics and won him many accolades. In the 1990s Thilakan was part of many Mohanlal evergreen hit films. In 1987, he played the role of Ananthan Nambiar in the cult-classic comedy movie Nadodikkattu, from which several of Thilakan's lines became very popular. In 1993 he continued his role as the father of Sethu Madhavan (Mohanlal) in the movie Chenkol. Like its prequel Kireedam, this movie also fared well both commercially and critically. His role as a retired mathematics teacher, father of Aadu Thoma (Mohanlal), in the 1995 blockbuster movie Sphadikam was well appreciated by critics and audiences alike. In 1998, he played the role of Dileep's father in the superhit Meenathil Thalikettu, and in his subsequent release he donned the role of a villain in the Kunchako Boban starrer Mayilpeelikavu. In the same year, he was also seen in Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala. Other notable films Thilakan has acted in include Moonnam Pakkam, Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal, Mookkilla Rajyathu, Randam Bhavam, Kaattu Kuthira and Yavanika.
He has also acted in other South Indian languages, such as Tamil and Telugu (in "Palanati Brahmanaidu").
Thilakan has portrayed a range of characters; however, his most well-known role is that of the father of Mohanlal, portraying a father-son duo. Movies where he donned this role include Kireedam, Sphadikam, Narasimham, Evidam Swargamanu, Pavithram and Chenkol. He has also played father roles to other popular actors, including with Mammootty in Sangham, The Truth, No. 1 Snehatheeram Bangalore North and Pallavur Devanarayanan, with Jayaram in Veendum Chila Veettu Karyangal and Sandesam, with Dileep in Meenathil Thaalikettu, with Kunchacko Boban in Aniyathi Pravu and with Prithviraj in Sathyam. He has also played a number of antagonists, such as in Randam Bhavam, Karma and Kaalal Pada. He has played comical roles in films like Nadodikkattu and Pattanapravesham (as a coward underworld don), Mookkilla Rajyathu (as a break-out from a mental hospital), Kuttettan (as a pimp) and Naaduvazhikal (as a good-for-nothing, vain person), and played lead roles in Ekantham, Perumthachan, Santhanagopalam, Kaattukuthira, My Dear Muthachan, Mukhamudra (double role), etc.
In 2006, he was seen in the Suresh Gopi-Shaji Kailas blockbuster, Chinthamani Kolacase, where he played the father of the title character Chinthamani enacted by Bhavana (Malayalam actress). In 2007, he acted in Ekantham, for which he received a special mention from the jury. In 2009, he was also seen in Pazhassi Raja, and in the same year he played Mohanlal's father one last time in the actor's 300th movie Evidam Swargamanu. In 2011, he played a significant role in the Prithviraj blockbuster Indian Rupee directed by Renjith. In 2012, he played the role of Kareem Bhai in Ustad Hotel and as the grandfather of Faizy, acted by Dulquer Salmaan.
Thilakan, in an interview, claimed that the then jury chairman Ashok Kumar was keen on giving him the national award for best actor for Perumthachan but that a Congress leader wanted the award to be given to Amitabh Bachchan to woo him back to their party.
In February 2010, it was reported that the producer of the movie Christian Brothers excluded Thilakan from the film at the request of the FEFKA, the predominant film technicians association. Thilakan had been earlier signed for a role in the film. The exclusion was reportedly due to Thilakan acting in a film by director Vinayan, who till recently headed the rival association MACTA. On 3 February 2010, Thilakan publicly protested against the unofficial ban enforced on him by FEFKA and blamed FEFKA for engineering the ban. The Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) issued a show cause notice to Thilakan for bringing the issue into the public domain. Thilakan accused AMMA, of which he too is a member. On 20 February 2010 the CPI's trade union wing, AITUC, came out openly in support of Thilakan, while a senior party leader and Rajya Sabha member K. E. Ismail expressed reservations about political involvement in the issue.
Thilakan was originally cast to play a role in a UAE-Indian co-production film Dam 999. He was later replaced following a notice from FEFKA stating that the association would boycott the film if Thilakan were to act. Sohan, the director, was forced to seek a substitute for Thilakan when it "came to the point that shooting might be disrupted." Eventually, Rajit Kapur was cast instead of Thilakan. Some reports contended that Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) also had intervened in Thilakan's replacement. In response, Thilakan and his supporters orchestrated a march near the shooting location of the film in Alappuzha.
Thilakan was the second of the six children of Palapurath T. S. Keshavan (1904–1972) and Devayani (1912–2010). Thilakan was born in Plankamon, Ayroor Panchayat in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. He had his primary education from Asan Pallikoodam, Manikkal and St. Louis Catholic School, Nalamvayal and Sree Narayana College, Kollam.
Thilakan lived in Plankamon until he started acting in movies for which he moved to Ernakulam. Thilakan's first partner was actress Santha with whom he appeared in several productions. Thilakan and Santha had three children: sons Shaji Thilakan, Shammi Thilakan and Shobi Thilakan. Later, he had a second partner, his co-artist Sarojam with whom he had a son, Shibu Thilakan, and two daughters Dr. Sonia Thilakan and Sophia Ajith.
Thilakan was a staunch atheist throughout his life, and was a supporter of Communist Party. He was a member of many drama troupes which actively promoted Communism in Kerala. When he died, his dead body was draped with Communist flag.
Thilakan was admitted to Jubilee Mission Hospital in Thrissur on 1 August 2012 after he collapsed during the shooting of the film Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu. He was then shifted to KIMS Hospital, Trivandrum and was in critical condition after suffering two heart attacks. Besides having cardiac problems, Thilakan was suffering from pneumonia. He was put on a ventilator and died on 24 September 2012. He was cremated with full state honours at Thycaud Shanthikavadam crematorium.
He is survived by both his partners, five of his six children and many grandchildren. His eldest son Shaji, who was also an actor by profession, died on 12 March 2020 aged 56.
- 2009 - Padma Shri
- 1987 - Best Supporting Actor - Rithubhedam
- 2006 - Special Jury Mention - Eakantham
- 2012 - Special Jury Mention - Ustad Hotel
- 1981 - Second Best Actor - Yavanika
- 1985 - Second Best Actor - Yathra
- 1986 - Second Best Actor - Panchangi
- 1987 - Second Best Actor - Thaniyavarthanam
- 1988 - Second Best Actor - Mukhti, Dhwani
- 1989 - Special Jury Award - Various film
- 1990 - Best Actor - Perunthachan
- 1994 - Best Actor - Gamanam, Santhanagopalam
- 1999 - Second Best Actor - Kaattathoru Pen Poovu
- 2006- Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award - South
- 2011- Best Supporting Actor Male (Indian Rupee)
- Other awards
|1972||Gandharavakshetram||Guest at Satheeshan's house|
|1982||Chiriyo chiri||Film Producer|
|1983||Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flash Back|
|1983||Prem Nazirine Kanmanilla||Home Minister|
|1983||Prasnam Gurutharam||Mohan's father|
|1983||Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku||Fr. Joseph Sebastian|
|1983||Adaminte Variyellu||Purushothaman Nair|
|1984||Panchavadi Palam||Isahak Tharakan|
|1984||Oru Kochukatha Aarum Parayatha Katha||Mammukka|
|1984||Onnanu Nammal||Sethu's Father|
|1984||Arante Mulla Kochu Mulla||Bhargavan Pillai|
|1984||Aattuvanchi Ulanjappol||Karunakaran Nair|
|1984||Uyarangalil||Police C I|
|1985||Oru Kuda Keezhil||Kurup|
|1985||Iniyum Katha Thudarum|
|1985||Noketha Doorathu kannum Nattu|
|1985||Aram + Aram = Kinnaram||M.N.Nambiar|
|1985||Ente Kanakkuyil||Kuttan Nair|
|1985||Ee Lokam Ivide Kure Manushyar||Krishna Pillai|
|1986||Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam||Damodar Ji|
|1986||Pappan Priyappetta Pappan||Kaalan|
|1986||Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal||Paul Pailokkaran, Sofia's stepfather|
|1986||Irakal||Mathews / Mathukutty|
|1986||Ennennum Kannettante||Parameswara Kuruppu|
|1986||Ithile Iniyum Varu||Kaimal|
|1986||Gandhinagar 2nd Street||Maya's Father|
|1986||Ennu Nathante Nimmi||Police Inspector|
|1987||Kalam Mari Katha Mari||Hameed|
|1987||Idanaazhiyil Oru Kaalocha||Father Dennis|
|1987||Manja Manthrangal||Mathew Paul|
|1987||Achuvettante Veedu||Damodaran Nair|
|1987||Unnikale Oru Katha Parayam||Priest|
|1988||Onninu Purake Mattonnu||Velu|
|1988||Kanakambarangal||S.I Thomas George|
|1988||Pattana Pravesham||Ananthan Nambiar|
|1988||Moonnam Pakkam||Thampi a.k.a. Muthachan|
|1988||Kudumba Puranam||Sankaran Nair|
|1989||Ammavanu Pattiya Amali||Menon|
|1989||Varnam||Major M. K. Nair|
|1989||Varavelppu||Labour Officer Ramakrishnan|
|1989||Kireedam||Achuthan Nair (Sethu's father)|
|1989||Kaalal Pada||Punnoose Punnakkadan / Punnoose Muthalali|
|1989||Jaithra Yathra||Prof. Banerjee|
|1989||Chakkikotha Chankaran||Raghavan Thampi|
|1990||Radha Madhavam||N. S. Anadapadmanabhan|
|1991||Venal Kinavukal||Gopalakrishnan Nair|
|1991||Mookilla Rajyathu||Keshavan / Keshu|
|1991||Godfather||Balaraman (elder son of Anjooran)|
|1991||Georgekutty C/O Georgekutty||Ittichan|
|1992||Mukhamudra||Achuthan Pilla & Ananthan Pilla|
|1992||Sadhyam||Dr. K. V. G. Nambiar|
|1992||My Dear Muthachan||Parameswaran / Major K. K. Menon|
|1992||Ezhara Ponnana||Madhava Menon|
|1993||Kalippattam||K. MK. Menon|
|1993||Aacharyan||Krishna Menon IAS|
|1993||Janam||D.G.P Thomas Mathew|
|1993||Maya Mayooram||Thanoor Shankunni Menon|
|1993||Ente Sreekuttikku||Balakrishnan Nair|
|1993||Chenkol||Achuthan Nair (Sethu's father)|
|1993||Ammayana Sathyam||R. Varghese Mathew|
|1993||Manichithrathazhu||Pullattuparam Brahmadathan Namboothiripad|
|1994||Vendor Daniel State Licency||Vendor Daniel|
|1994||Minnaram||Retd. I. G. Matthews|
|1994||Kudumba Visesham||Madhavan Nair|
|1994||Kinnaripuzhayoram||Thirusherry Madhavan Vaidyar|
|1995||Thacholi Varghese Chekavar||Avarachan|
|1995||Sundari Neeyum Sundaran Njanum||Achuthan Nair|
|1995||Sphadikam||C. P. Chacko / Kaduva Chacko / Chacko Master|
|1995||Karma||M. R. Sreedhara Menon|
|1996||Naalamkettile Nalla Thampimar||I.G Rasheed Khan|
|1996||Yuvathurki||Justice T. N. Sharma|
|1996||Kathil Oru Kinnaram||Unnithan|
|1997||Athyunnathangalil Koodaaram Panithavar|
|1997||Aniyathipravu||Raghupal, Sudhi's Father|
|1997||Five Star Hospital||Carlos|
|1997||Oru Yathramozhi||Adhruman (Abdul Rahiman)|
|1997||Itha Oru Snehagatha|
|1997||Nee Varuvolam||Madhavan Nair|
|1997||Oral Mathram||Shekhara Menon|
|1998||Meenathil Thalikettu||Govindan Nambeesan|
|1998||The Truth||Sivapuram Patteri|
|1998||Punjabi House||Kaimal Master|
|1998||Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala||Karunan Mash|
|1999||Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu||Natesan Muthalali|
|1999||Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal||Kochuthoma|
|1999||Thachiledathu Chundan||Vikraman Nair|
|1999||Prem Poojari||Music director|
|1999||Pallavur Devanarayanan||Pallavur Sreekanta Pothuval|
|2000||Narasimham||Justice Maranchery Karunakara Menon|
|2000||Ingane Oru Nilapakshi|
|2000||Ee Mazha Thenmazha||Narendranath|
|2002||Kalyanaraman||Meppattu Thirumeni||Guest Role|
|2003||Kilichundan Mampazham||Chekutty Muthalali|
|2005||OK Chacko Cochin Mumbai||Chacko Bhai|
|2006||Chinthamani Kolacase||Veeramani Warrier|
|2006||Yes Your Honour||Judge Mukundan|
|2008||De Ingottu Nokkiye|
|2008||One Way Ticket|
|2009||Red Chillies||Comrade Maani Varghese|
|2009||Makante Achan||K. C. Francis|
|2009||Bharya Swantham Suhruthu||Joseph Madathiparambil|
|2009||Kadha, Samvidhanam Kunchakko|
|2009||Ee Pattanathil Bhootham||Cameo role|
|2009||Pazhassi Raja||Kurumbranaadu Raja Veeravarma|
|2009||Kerala Cafe||Segment - Mrityunjayam|
|2010||Kanmazha Peyyum Munpe|
|2010||Drona 2010||Maniyankottu Guptan Namboothiri|
|2010||Naayakan||Vincent Karanavar / Vincent Vadakkan|
|2011||Achan||Major Madhava Menon|
|2011||Kalabha Mazha||Madhava Menon|
|2011||Raghuvinte Swantham Rasiya||Kuttappan Bhagavathar|
|2011||Indian Rupee||Achutha Menon|
|2012||Mullamottum Munthiricharum||Vazhakkula Achan|
|2012||No. 66 Madhura Bus|
|2012||Ustad Hotel||Kareem Ikka / Uppuppa|
|2012||Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu|
|2013||Annum Innum Ennum||Dr. Benjamin Bruno|
|2013||Breaking News Live|
|2013||August Club||K.P.T. Menon|
|2013||God for Sale||Sakhavu Vareeth|
|2013||Bangles||Prof. Vincent Chenna Durai||Final Film|
- Sathriyan (1990) as Arumai Nayagam
- Moondrezhuthil En Moochirukkum (1991) as Namboodiri
- Kilipetchu Ketkava (1993)
- Karuppu Vellai (1993)
- Ayudha Poojai (1995) as Samiyappan
- Mettukudi (1996)
- Aravindhan (1997)
- Kallazhagar (1999)
- Bala (2002)
- Nee Venunda Chellam (2006) as Viswanathan
- Suyetchai MLA (2006)
- Alibhabha (2008)
- Uyirin Edai 21 Gram (2011)
- Mother India(1995)
As a dubbing artistEdit
|Orma||Asianet||K K Rajeev|
|Sree Ayyappanum Vavarum||Surya TV|
|Peythozhiyaathe||Surya TV||K.K Rajeev|
- Movie | Thilakan - The Unique Style of Acting. Manorama Online.
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- "Thilakan:Profile And Biography". Metromatinee.com. 10 September 2012. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012.
- 'The Malayalam superstars are highly insecure' Archived 28 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Rediff.com (31 December 2004).
- Padma Awards announced Archived 11 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Press Information Bureau
- Zee News (24 September 2012). "Veteran malayalam actor thilakan passed away". Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- Veteran Malayalam actor Thilakan dead. Tdnpost.com (24 September 2012).
- The Hindu (25 August 2012). "Thilakan critical". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "Interview with Thilakan". Archived from the original on 28 January 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- "54th National Film awards" (PDF). Press Information Bureau (PIB), Govt of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- "Gulf Times – Qatar's top-selling English daily newspaper - India". Gulf Times. 14 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 March 2010.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 February 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Thilakan to enter Hollywood". One India. 3 February 2009. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012.
- "It's official; Thilakan is out of Dam 999". Nowrunning. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Rajath Kapoor replaces Thilakan in Dam 999". One India. 11 March 2010. Archived from the original on 20 February 2013.
- "Malayalam film body gives Thilakan another chance". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 March 2010.[dead link]
- "Thilakans Car Hits Autorickshaw, Two Children Killed - NDTV Movies". 12 September 2015. Archived from the original on 12 September 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
- "2 kids die in Thilakan's car accident". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
- Devasia, T. K. "Malayalam actor Thilakan's car runs over two children". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
- "God does not exist, says Thilakan". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
- "Malayalam thespian Thilakan dead". The Hindu. 24 September 2012. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012.
- "Shaji Thilakan, son of veteran Malayalam actor Thilakan, dies in Thrissur". The New Minute. 12 March 2020. Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "The 59th Idea Filmfare Awards 2011(South)". The Times of India. 8 July 2012. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- "Bharat Gopi Award for Thilakan". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 9 June 2010. Archived from the original on 19 August 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2011.