Thilakan: memories without death

The tragedy of Thilakan is the tragedy of every character actor in regional films in India. Also it is the tragedy of every supporting actor in Indian films. Sometimes, being a great actor is not good enough. You have to have the right tag and the right address. Like the deserving national award that he lost to Big B, every honor that was forsaken mocked the honor, not him.

We compete to celebrate the stars and hysterically praise when finally they do manage a decent expression in a tiny scene in an ocean of films. The line between posing and acting is blurred than ever.  We forget that cinema is a medium where one can get away with a lot with tricks in the editing, angles, score etc. Often we confuse a good line of dialogue with good acting. The liberal heart with which we embrace the antics of many Bollywood ‘actors’ is insane. The threshold for accommodation of someone as an ‘actor’ (not even good actor) in Hindi film industry is insanely low compared with most regional film industries. I have never understood this phenomena. Probably a reason would be the strong role of pedigree for breakthrough.

I hate sounding dramatic. But for me, Thilakan was the best film actor Malayalam ever produced. Only competition would be late Bharat Gopi. I am not familiar with every regional language in India. But with the exposure I have had with Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi films, I would confidently say that he would figure in the top 5 in India.

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5 thoughts on “Thilakan: memories without death

  1. I could not enjoy all the movies of Thilakan Chettan, since I left India in the year 1973. When I saw one movie in which Thilakan Chettan acted as a Government Contractor of high Influence and wanted to get his daughter married to Mohan Lal an IAS officer for using his influence also for making more money. Sorry I don’t rember the name of the movie. I was surprised to see his acting and saw the movie many more times. Since then I never wanted to miss any movie of Thilakan Chettan, not considering who ever may be in the lead roll.
    The Association (The so called Sankhadana AMMA of Innocent, must submit a general apology to the world Malayalees for stoping him from acting, thereby at least 20 movies were lost for the world Malayalees.

  2. Thanks to “scrptlarva” for mentioning the name “Pakshe” the Mohanlal movie. I saw the movie again from the internet. In fact I have a VCR original copy, which packed and kept, should be somewhere in the garage.
    Many many thanks sir,

  3. Thilakan is and will be the master craftsmen of malayalam cinema who lived and breathed cinema.I never thought he acted.He just lived the roles to perfection,something which allows us to love the movies in which he was cast.Watching his movies is like eating a perfectly made tasty meal which we love to devour and relish each and every morsel and still crave for more after it is over.He was a great,natural actor with a true love of the arts and i think his magic was so good because he never did films for commercial or friendship reasons.He did movies bcoz that was his passion and sadly in todays times,there are hardly any passionate people left in any field.Your writeup is a really good one and I perfectly agree with you on the movies we lost out bcoz of some nitwits.His cruelty in cheriyachande kroorkatha,his innocence in sandesham,his frailty in that grandson dying movie.I really pity the morons of (AMMA ) who made him fight in the end and did not give him the respect and appreciation he deserved.

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