When a prominent personality becomes no more, the press and V I Ps issue statement that his loss is irreplaceable. In many cases they are only perfunctory expression of condolence and soon everybody forget the deceased.
But in the case of Surendranatha Thilakan, the versatile Malayalam actor, the word 'irreplaceable 'is not just a cursory remark ; all Malayalam cine-goers and cine Directors would share the thought implicitly. In fact there is none in the Malayalam film world to take up certain roles that Thilakan easily presented in many films.
One month ago on 20th August, Thilakan felt a chest pain while in shooting work and was admitted to Hospital and he never came out alive from there as one complication followed after another spending a month in the Hospital. All the vital organs had stopped working during his final days. However no one thought that Thilakan would leave the stage for ever as he had had survived serious ailments on several occasions in the past.
Thilakan was born on July 15th,1935 at Ayirur in Pathanamthitta District. His first film was 'Ulkadal' in 1979, but he was noted only in film 'Yavanika' which brought him a State award. Although he got several state awards the national best-actor award eluded him simply by being unlucky.
Thilakan was an amazing artist. All characters were safe with him; yet he was unlucky in that he did not get as much chances he deserved. Before coming to film he was in Drama field and had acted almost on a thousand stages. Although he could tailor his acting style to suit the cinema way he could not get along with the pomp and hypocrisy of the silver screen world. The rebel in him revolted against what he found incompatible.
In the drama world, fellow drama actors would take a suggestion or friendly rebuke from Thilakan casually but the flaunting super stars of Malayalam (where every one becomes a super star just by acting in one or two films) would not take the remarks or repartee with the same ease resulting in making many enemies in the film world for nothing. He would have got a lot more opportunities in Film world had he not been such a sensitive person; but then, bereft of it he would not have been the same Thilakan we all admire.
During the year 2010-11 the film fraternity expelled Thilakan from the Union and instructed Directors not to give any roles for him in films and he got no roles in any films for a long period. It affected him mentally and his illness and death have some connection to the trauma he suffered during that period. He spent the days in a lodge in front of Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna temple doing occasionally some dramas. Thilakan never came out of its shock and trauma.
Thilakan was such a versatile actor that no director could ignore him for long. When an apt role came in the film ' Indian rupee' that only Thilakan could portray effectively, Ranjith called him back with the permission of Film associations.
In fact in Thilakan's brief expulsion from films the loss was for Malayalam cinema. He could have immortalized many a memorable characters. It was only the arrogance of some bigwigs in the Malayalam cinema that stood in the way. During his last days he was free to act in any films but the Time had run out for him here.
We will wish that personalities like Thilakan lived eternally and enriched endless films.
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