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P. K. Surendranatha Thilakan

(1935-07-15)15 July 1935
Died24 September 2012(2012-09-24) (aged 77)
Nationality Indian
Years active1956–1978 (stage)
1972, 1979–2012 (film)
Children6 (incl. Shammi and Shobi)
  • Palapurath S. Keshavan
  • Devayani Amma

Palappurathu Keshavan Surendranatha Thilakan (15 July 1935 – 24 September 2012) was an Indian film and stage actor who appeared in over 200 Malayalam films. [2] [3] [4] Thilakan was known for his elaborate method acting, realistic and spontaneous appearances [5] and is considered to be one of the greatest actors of all time.


Early life

Thilakan was the second of the six children of P. T. S. Keshavan of the Palappurathu house (1904–1972) and Devayani Amma (1912–2010). Thilakan was born in Plankamon, Ayroor Panchayat in the present-day 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 films for which he moved to Ernakulam.

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 . He also won Kerala State Award for supporting actor in Yathra which also starred Mammootty.

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 [6] 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. [6] 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 Mammootty starrer 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 Mammootty and Mohanlal evergreen hit films. In 1987, he was appreciated for his role in Thaniyavarthanam where he portrayed a man who is the head of a family where his nephew played by Mammootty becomes lunatic due to superstition and lack of awareness of mental health. He was awarded the Second Best Actor for Thaniyavarthanam. In the same year, he also played the comic role of Ananthan Nambiar in the cult-classic comedy movie Nadodikkattu , from which several of Thilakan's lines became very popular. He also starred in the National award winning movie Mathilukal , which was directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan in which he played the role of a warden of the jail who develops a rapport with the prisoner Vaikom Muhammad Basheer (Mammootty). 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 and headmaster C.P Chacko alias Kaduva Chacko, father of Thomas Chacko alias Aadu Thoma (Mohanlal), in the 1995 blockbuster movie Spadikam 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 Yathra , Mukthi , Kauravar , Moonnam Pakkam , Kilukkam , Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal , Mookkilla Rajyathu , Randam Bhavam , Kaattu Kuthira and Yavanika .

He has also acted in other South Indian languages, such as Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.

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 , Oliyampukal , No. 1 Snehatheeram Bangalore North and Pallavur Devanarayanan , with Jayaram in Veendum Chila Veettu Karyangal and Sandesam , with Kunchacko Boban in Aniyathi Pravu , with Dileep in Punjabi House and Meenathil Thalikettu 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). He is also remembered for the role of comic underworld don Damodarjj in Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam. Thilakan 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. In 2007, he acted in Ekantham, for which he received a special mention from the jury. [7] 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.


National Film Award

Thilakan, in an interview, claimed that the then jury chairman Ashok Kumar was keen on giving him the 1991 National Film 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. [8]


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. [9] [10] 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. [11]

Thilakan was originally cast to play a role in a UAE-Indian co-production film Dam 999 . [12] 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." [13] Eventually, Rajit Kapur was cast instead of Thilakan. [14] Some reports contended that Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) also had intervened in Thilakan's replacement. [14] In response, Thilakan and his supporters orchestrated a march near the shooting location of the film in Alappuzha. [15]

Personal life


Thilakan's first partner was actress Santha with whom he appeared in several productions. Thilakan and Santha have three sons, Shaji, Shammi & Shobhi. 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 [16] 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 Thilakan.JPG


For a long time, Thilakan dealt with numerous health issues like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. He was hospitalized multiple times due to these problems. Finally, he 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, Thiruvananthapuram, 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. [17] He was cremated with full state honours. [18]


Civilian honours

National Film Awards:

Kerala State Film Awards:

Filmfare Awards South

Other awards


Malayalam films

GandharavakshetramGuest at Satheeshan's house
1979 Ulkadal Rahulan's father
1981 Kolangal Varkey
1982 Yavanika Vakkachan
Chiriyo chiri Film Producer
1983 Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flash Back
Asthi Factory Worker
Prem Nazirine Kanmanilla Home Minister
Prasnam GurutharamMohan's father
Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku Fr. Joseph Sebastian
Adaminte Variyellu Purushothaman Nair
1984 Panchavadi Palam Isahak Tharakan
Oru Kochukatha Aarum Parayatha Katha Mammukka
Onnanu Nammal Sethu's Father
Koottinilamkili Devasya
Engane Undasane
Arante Mulla Kochu Mulla Bhargavan Pillai
Aattuvanchi Ulanjappol Karunakaran Nair
Uyarangalil Police C I
1985 Vasantha Sena Unnithan
Akkachide Kunjuvava
Oru Kuda Keezhil Kurup
Katha Ithuvare
Iniyum Katha Thudarum
Akalathe Ambili Kichettan
Upaharam Divakaran
Ambada Njane Padmanabhan
Thammil Thammil
Noketha Doorathu kannum Nattu
Koodum Thedi Priest
Aram + Aram = Kinnaram M.N.Nambiar
Anubandham Menon
Ayanam Priest
Ente Kanakkuyil Kuttan Nair
Yathra Jailor
Ee Lokam Ivide Kure Manushyar Krishna Pillai
1986 Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam Damodar Ji
Pappan Priyappetta Pappan Kaalan
Panchagni Raman
Oridathu Raman
Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal Paul Pailokkaran, Sofia's stepfather
Kunjattakilikal Ayyappan Nair
Irakal Mathews / Mathukutty
Oru Yugasandhya Shanmugam
Rareeram Doctor Tharakan
Chilambu Appu Nair
Ennennum Kannettante Parameswara Kuruppu
Ithile Iniyum Varu Kaimal
Gandhinagar 2nd Street Maya's Father
Ee Kaikalil Ummachan
Pranamam Aparna's Father
Ennu Nathante Nimmi Police Inspector
1987 Kalam Mari Katha Mari Hameed
Vrutham Chacko
Rithubhetham Achunni Nair
Kadhakku Pinnil Kunjipalu
Vilambaram James
Idanaazhiyil Oru Kaalocha Father Dennis
Aalippazhangal Padmanabhan Thampi
Sruthi Aashaan
Nadodikkattu Ananthan Nambiar
Manja Manthrangal Mathew Paul
Amrutham Gamaya Kurup
Achuvettante Veedu Damodaran Nair
Thaniyavarthanam Balan's Uncle
Unnikale Oru Katha Parayam Priest
1988 Onninu Purake Mattonnu Velu
Kanakambarangal S.I Thomas George
Witness Vikraman Nair
Pattana Pravesham Ananthan Nambiar
Moonnam Pakkam Thampi a.k.a. Muthachan
Kudumba Puranam Sankaran Nair
Dhwani Vettukuzhy
1989 Ammavanu Pattiya Amali Menon
Kandathum Kettathum
Varnam Major M. K. Nair
Varavelppu Labour Officer Ramakrishnan
Naaduvazhikal Shankaran
Kireedam Achuthan Nair (Sethu's father)
VarnatheruRohini's Father
Kaalal Pada Punnoose Punnakkadan / Punnoose Muthalali
Jaithra Yathra Prof. Banerjee
Jathakam Appukuttan Nair
Chanakyan Madhava Menon
Chakkikotha Chankaran Raghavan Thampi
Adharvam Mekkadan
Vachanam Police Officer
1990 Sasneham Retired Stationmaster
Rajavazhcha Madhava Panikkar
Radha Madhavam N. S. Anadapadmanabhan
Perumthachan Raman (Perumthachan)
Maalayogam Varkey
Kattukuthira Kochuvava
Ee Kannikoodi Simon
Mathilukal Jail Warden
Oliyampukal John Mathew
1991 Venal Kinavukal Gopalakrishnan Nair
Sandesam Raghavan Nair
Mookilla Rajyathu Keshavan / Keshu
Kilukkam Justice Pillai
Godfather Balaraman (elder son of Anjooran)
Georgekutty C/O Georgekutty Ittichan
1992 Mukhamudra Achuthan Pilla & Ananthan Pilla
Mahanagaram Kelu writer
Sadhyam Dr. K. V. G. Nambiar
My Dear Muthachan Parameswaran / Major K. K. Menon
Ezhara Ponnana Madhava Menon
Daivathinte Vikrithikal Kumaran
Kauravar Aliyaar
1993 Samagamam Pallivathukkal Kariyachan
Bandhukkal Shathrukkal Damodaran
Kalippattam K. MK. Menon
Ghoshayathra Moideen Haji
Aacharyan Krishna Menon IAS
Janam D.G.P Thomas Mathew
Maya Mayooram Thanoor Shankunni Menon
Ente Sreekuttikku Balakrishnan Nair
Chenkol Achuthan Nair (Sethu's father)
Ammayana Sathyam R. Varghese Mathew
Aagneyam Velu Aashan
Manichithrathazhu Pullattuparam Brahmadathan Namboothiripad
1994 Vendor Daniel State Licency Vendor Daniel
Pavithram Easwara Pillai
Pakshe Vikraman Contractor
Pingami Kumaran
Minnaram Retd. I. G. Matthews
Kudumba Visesham Madhavan Nair
Kinnaripuzhayoram Thirusherry Madhavan Vaidyar
Chukkan Shankaran Nair
Santhanagopalam Krishna Kurup
1995 Thacholi Varghese Chekavar Avarachan
Sundari Neeyum Sundaran Njanum Achuthan Nair
Spadikam C. P. Chacko alias Kaduva Chacko
Peter Scott
Karma M. R. Sreedhara Menon
1996Naalamkettile Nalla ThampimarI.G Rasheed Khan
Yuvathurki Justice T. N. Sharma
Kathil Oru Kinnaram Unnithan
Harbour Pattalam Pappachan
Rajaputhran Balaraman
1997 Kulam Kudaman Pillai
Ullasappoonkattu John Fernandez
Athyunnathangalil Koodaaram Panithavar
Aniyathipravu Raghupal, Sudhi's Father
Mangamma Karuppan Mooppar
Five Star Hospital Carlos
Oru Yathramozhi Adhruman (Abdul Rahiman)
Itha Oru Snehagatha
Nee Varuvolam Madhavan Nair
Oral Mathram Shekhara Menon
Nagarapuranam Sathya Narayanan
Bhoopathi Bawa/Chindan
Kattathoru Penpoovu
1998 Sidhartha Raghavan
Nakshathra Tharattu
Meenathil Thalikettu Govindan Nambeesan
The Truth Sivapuram Patteri
British Market
Punjabi House Kaimal Master
Ilamura Thampuran
Kalapam Valayar Madhavan
Mayilpeelikkavu Valyathan
Elavamkodu Desam Mooss
Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala Karunan Mash
1999 Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu Natesan Muthalali
Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal Kochuthoma
Thachiledathu Chundan Vikraman Nair
Prem Poojari Music director
Pallavur Devanarayanan Pallavur Sreekanta Pothuval
2000 Narasimham Justice Maranchery Karunakara Menon
Ingane Oru Nilapakshi
Ee Mazha ThenmazhaNarendranath
Priyam Priest
Mazha Doctor
2001 Randam Bhavam Govindji
2002 Valkannadi Raghavan
Kalyanaraman Meppattu ThirumeniGuest Role
2003 Kilichundan Mampazham Chekutty Muthalali
2004 Vellinakshatram Valliyankattu Thirumeni
Koottu Dr. Hariharan
Sathyam Ayyappan Nair
2005 OK Chacko Cochin Mumbai Chacko Bhai
Nerariyan CBI Kapra
2006 Raashtram Sakhavu Gopalan
Chinthamani Kolacase Veeramani Warrier
Kisan Muthassan
Prajapathi Vellodi
Yes Your Honour Judge Mukundan
2007 Nagaram Judge
Athishayan Fr. Chanthakkadan
Eakantham Achutha Menon
Black Cat Moosath
2008 De Ingottu Nokkiye
One Way Ticket
Vilapangalkkappuram Gopalan
Aayudham Madhavan
2009 Red Chillies Comrade Maani Varghese
Makante Achan K. C. Francis
Orkkuka Vallappozhum Sethumadhavan
Aayirathil Oruvan Krishnan
Bharya Swantham SuhruthuJoseph Madathiparambil
Kadha, Samvidhanam Kunchakko
Ee Pattanathil Bhootham Cameo role
Pazhassi Raja Kurumbranaadu Raja Veeravarma
Vairam Thalikkulam Avarachan
Kerala Cafe Segment – Mrityunjayam
Kappal Muthalaali Yamarajan
Evidam Swargamanu Jermias
2010Kanmazha Peyyum Munpe
Drona 2010 Maniyankottu Guptan Namboothiri
Naayakan Vincent Karanavar / Vincent Vadakkan
Yakshiyum Njanum Narayanji
Annarakkannanum Thannalayathu
2011 Achan Major Madhava Menon
Kalabha Mazha Madhava Menon
Chungakkarum Veshyakalum Unniyachan
Raghuvinte Swantham Rasiya Kuttappan Bhagavathar
Indian Rupee Achutha Menon
2012 Manjadikuru Appukuttan Nair
Spirit Mesthiri
Mullamottum Munthiricharum Vazhakkula Achan
No. 66 Madhura Bus
Ustad Hotel Kareem Ikka / Uppuppa
Simhasanam Bishop
Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu
Ardhanaari Nayak
2013 Yathrakkoduvil Ravi
Annum Innum Ennum Dr. Benjamin Bruno
Breaking News Live
Dracula 2012
August Club K.P.T. Menon
God for Sale Sakhavu Vareeth
Bangles Prof. Vincent Chenna DuraiFinal Film

Tamil films

Telugu films

Kannada films

As a dubbing artist

Television serials

TV shows

Show (Title)NetworkDirected
Anveshi DD
Mannu DD
Kadamathathu Kathanar Asianet
Swami AyyappanAsianetSuresh Unnithan
OrmaAsianetK K Rajeev
Sree Ayyappanum VavarumSurya TV
MadhavamSurya TV
Peythozhiyaathe Surya TV K.K Rajeev

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