July 15, 1935
|Died||September 24, 2012
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
|Years active||1956–1978 (stage)
1972, 1979–2012 (film)
|Awards||Padma Shri (2009)|
Surendranatha Thilakan (Malayalam: സുരേന്ദ്രനാഥ തിലകന്; 08 dec 1935 – 24 September 2012), known mononymously as Thilakan, was an Indian film and stage actor who had starred in over 200 Malayalam films in a career spanning over four decades (1972-2012).
Thilakan is regarded as one of the finest actors in Indian cinema, and popularly mentioned as the Perumthachan (master craftsman) of Malayalam Cinema. He is known for his excellence in character, antagonist, and protagonist roles. He has won 3 National Film Awards and 9 Kerala State Film Awards. The Government of India awarded him with the Padma Shri in 2009 for his contributions towards the arts.
He started his career in acting as a theatre artiste when he ventured into full-time acting in theater after leaving intermediate college mid-way in the year 1956. It was during his years in theatre that he honed his skills in acting. During this period he and a few friends formed a drama troupe in Mundakayam, where his father was working as an estate supervisor, and the troupe was called the Mundakayam Nataka Samithy. He worked with 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 completed fifty years in acting.
Despite his long association with theatre, Thilakan became a household name only after his foray into Malayalam cinema. He began his career in cinema with a role in P.J.Anthony directed Malayalam movie 'Periyar' (1973). He then worked in 'Gandharvakshetram'. However the role in the film Ulkadal (1979) was the first noticed. His first role as a lead character was as Kallu Varkey, a drunkard in Kolangal (1981). Thilakan established himself as an actor after he got his first State Award in 1981 for his role in Yavanika.
In 1988, he received the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Rithubhedam. Again in 1994, and in 1998, he won State awards for Santhanagopalam and Gamanam. He was strongly favoured to get another National Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in the movie Perumthachan. As noted in the rediff interview, the award was steered away from him to Amitabh Bachchan due to strong lobbying, as Amitabh announced his retirement that year. The film Kireedam was a milestone in his career; in this film he portrayed a helpless policeman silently watching the fate of his son, played by Mohanlal, who was made into a rowdy by society. Some of Thilakan's other notable films are Sphadikam, Moonnam Pakkam, Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal, Mookkilla Rajyathu, Chenkol, Randam Bhavam, Kaattu Kuthira and Yavanika.
He has also acted in other South Indian languages, such as Tamil.
Thilakan has portrayed a range of characters. The most popular roles have been with Mohanlal when they portrayed a father-son duo. These included 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 Banglore 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 many negative roles. His roles of underworld don in Randam Bhavam, Karma and Kaalal Pada were memorable. He has played comical roles in films like Nadodikkattu and Pattanapravesham (as a coward underworld don), Mookkilla Rajyathu (as a breakout from a mental hospital), Kuttettan (as a pimp) and Naaduvazhikal (as a good-for-nothing, vain person). He has played lead roles in many movies including Ekantham, Perumthachan, Santhanagopalam, Kaattukuthira, My Dear Muthachan, Mukhamudra (double role), etc.
Thilakan fell ill at the beginning of the 2000s and was hospitalized for a long time. After recovering he slowly returned to acting. He subsequently made a series of statements in interviews criticizing prominent figures of the Malayalam film industry.
In 2007, he acted in Ekantham, for which he received a special mention from the jury. Even the film technicians’ guild, MACTA, made an exception recently and honoured him, though he is not a technician.
Thilakan has been suspended and/or issued show cause notices several times by the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), which made Thilakan an open critic on association's activities. He has also had issues with other film organisations such as the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) and the Malayalam Cine Technicians Association (MACTA).
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 February 3, 2010, Thilakan publicly protested against the unofficial ban enforced on him by FEFKA and blamed Mammootty 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 February 20, 2010 the issue gained political colours when 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 his party getting involved in the tangle. Controversy led to the dismissal of the actor permanently from AMMA association after being asked several times by the AMMA's committee, headed by noted actor Innocent, to issue an unconditional apology, which he refused. He stated that unless and until he gets justice regarding why he was removed from the role in the movie Christian Brothers, he would not give an apology.
Thilakan was originally cast to play an important role in a UAE-Indian co-production film Dam 999. He was later replaced, following a notice from FEFKA stating that if Thilakan acted in the film, the association would boycott it. Sohan said they were forced to seek for a substitute for Thilakan when it came to the point that shooting might be disrupted. Eventually, Rajit Kapur was cast instead of Thilakan. There were reports that Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) also had intervened in Thilakan's replacement. In a related development, Thilakan and his supporters had a march toward the shooting location of the film at Alappuzha.
During this time, Thilakan decided to come back to Drama. Thilakan directed and played the role of the main character of a freedom fighter - SuryaNarayanan in the play "Itho Daivangalude Nadu" (Is this the land of God) for the Drama troupe Alappuzha AksharaJwala.
In the middle of 2011, AMMA revised their decision of his dismissal after which he came back strongly with fantastic performance in Malayalam film INDIAN RUPEE directed by famous Director Renjith, co acted by young star Prithviraj. His performance got applauses from all audiences even though the lead role has been done by Prithviraj.
Personal life 
Thilakan was the second of the six children of Palapurath T.S. Keshavan and Deevayani. Thilakan was born in Plankamon, Ayroor Panchayat in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. Thilakan lived in Plankamon until he started acting in movies with which he moved to Ernakulam. The house where he was born, brought up and lived most of this life before getting into movies, is at Plankamon junction next to Velliyara school.
Thilakan was admitted to a hospital in Thrissur on August 1, 2012 after he collapsed during the shooting of the film "Scene 1 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. The actor had been put in a ventilator since then. Thilakan died on September 24, 2012 at 3:35 IST from complications resulting from his health problems. His condition was getting worse day by day. Thilakan is survived by his sons Shaji Thilakan, Shammi Thilakan, Shibu Thilakan, Shobi Thilakan and daughters Sonia Thilakan and Sophia Thilakan.
- 2009 - Padma Shri
- 1987 - Best Supporting Actor - Hrithubhedam
- 2006 - Special Jury Award (Actor) - Eakantham
- 2012 - Special Mention (Actor) - Ustad Hotel (Posthumously)
- 1982 - Second Best Actor - Yavanika
- 1985 - Second Best Actor - Yathra
- 1986 - Second Best Actor - Panchagni
- 1987 - Second Best Actor - Thaniyavarthanam
- 1988 - Second Best Actor - Mukthi, Dhwani
- 1989 - Special Jury Award - Various films
- 1990 - Best Actor - Perumthachan
- 1994 - Best Actor - Gamanam, Santhanagopalam
- 1998 - Second Best Actor - Kaattathoru Pen Poovu
- 2005 - Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2011- Best Supporting Actor Male (Indian Rupee)
- 1990-Best actor-Perumthachan
- 2001 - Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2002 - Bahadoor Award for his contributions to Malayalam cinema
- 2005 - Chalachithra Ratna/Lifetime Achievement Award by Kerala Film Critics Association
- 2008 - Annual Malayalam Movie Award (Dubai) for Lifetime Achievement
- 2010 - Bharath Gopi Award
- 2011 - Vayalar Ramavarma Chalachithra - Madhyama Awards' Chalachithra Ratna Award for Lifetime Achievement
Malayalam films 
- God for Sale: Bhakthi Prasthanam (2013) (to be released; posthumous film)
- August Club (2013) ... K.P.C. Menon (posthumous film)
- Dracula 2012 (2013) (posthumous film)
- Annum Innum Ennum (2013) ... Dr. Benjamin Bruno (posthumous film)
- Yathrakkoduvil (2013) ...Ravi (posthumous film)
- Ardhanaari (2012) (posthumous film)
- Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu (2012) (posthumous film)
- Simhasanam (2012)
- No. 66 Madhura Bus (2012)
- Mullamottum Munthiricharum ... Vazhakkula Achan (2012)
- Ustad Hotel (2012) .... Kareem
- Koodaram (2012)
- Spirit (2012)
- Manjadikuru (2012)
- Indian Rupee (2011) .... Achutha Menon
- Arabipponnu (2011)
- Raghuvinte Swantham Rasiya (2011) .... Kuttappan Bhagavathar
- Chungakkarum Veshyakalum (2011) .... Unniyachan
- Kalabha Mazha (2011) ..... Madhava Menon
- Achan (2011) .... Major Madhava Menon
- Yakshiyum Njanum (2010)
- Drona 2010 (2010)
- Kanmazha Peyyum Munpe (2010)
- Evidam Swargamanu (2009) .... Jermias
- Pazhassi Raja (2009) .... Kurumbranaadu Raja Veeravarma
- Makante Achan (2009) .... K. C. Francis
- Orkkuka Vallapozhum
- Red Chillies (2009) .... Comrade Maani Varghese
- Aayudham (2008) .... Madhavan
- Black Cat (2007)
- Eakantham (2007) .... Achutha Menon
- Prajapathi (2006) .... Vellodi
- Chinthamani Kolacase (2006) .... Veeramani Varier
- Nerariyan CBI (aka Oru CBI Diary Kurippu: Part IV) (2005) .... Kapra
- Sathyam (2004) .... Ayyappan Nair
- Vellinakshatram (2004)
- Koottu (2004) .... Dr. Hariharan
- Kilichundan Mampazham (2003) .... Chekutty Muthalali
- Kalyanaraman (2002) .... Meppattu Thirumeni
- Valkannadi (2002) .... Raghavan
- Randam Bhavam (2001)
- Mazha (2000)
- Narashimham (2000)...Marancheri Karunakara Menon
- Priyam (2000) .... Achan
- Pallavur Devanarayanan (1999) .... Pallavur Sreekanta Pothuval
- Prempujari (1999)...Music Director
- Thachiledathu Chundan (1999) .... Vikraman Nair
- Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal (1999) .... Kochu Thoma
- The Truth (1998)... Patteri
- Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala (1998) .... Karunan Mash
- Elavamkodu Desam (1998) .... Mooss
- Mayilpeelikkavu (1998)
- Meenathil Thalikettu (1998)...Dileep's father
- Nakshathra Tharattu (1998)
- Punjabi House (1998) .... Kaimal
- Sidhartha (1998) .... Raghavan
- Aniyathi Pravu (1997) .... Kunchacko Boban's father
- Bhoopathi (1997) .... Bawa/Chindan
- Manickakoodaram (1997)
- Nagarapuranam (1997) .... Sathya Narayanan
- Oral Mathram (1997) .... Shekhara Menon
- Poonilamazha (1997)
- Ullasappoonkattu (1997) .... John Fernandez
- Kulam (1996)
- Yuvathurki (1996)
- Karma (1995)
- Peterscott (1995)
- Sphadikam (1995) .... Chacko Master
- Sundari Neeyum Sundaran Njanum (1995)
- Thacholi Varghese Chekavar (1995) .... Avarachan
- Chukkan (1994) .... Fired factory worker
- Gamanam (1994)
- Kinnaripuzhayoram (1994)
- Kudumba Visesham (1994) .... Madhavan Nair
- Minnaram (1994) .... Rtd Judge Mathews
- Pakshe (1994) .... Mohan Lal's father-in-law
- Pavithram (1994) .... Easwara Pillai
- Pingami (1994) .... Kumaran
- Agrajan (1994) ....
- Santhanagopalam (1994)
- Vendor Daniel State Licency (1994) .... Vendor Daniel
- Aagneyam (1993) .... Velu Asan
- Ammayana Sathyam (1993) .... R. Varghese Mathew
- Chenkol (1993) .... Sethu's father
- Ente Sreekuttikku (1993)
- MayaMayooram (1993)
- Aacharyan (1993)
- Kalippattam (1993) .... Urvashi's father
- Manichithrathazhu (1993) .... Brahmadattan Nampoothirippadu
- Samagamam (1993) .... Pallivathukkal Kariyachan
- Kauravar (1992) .... Aliyar
- Daivathinte Vikrithikal (1992) .... Kumaran
- Ezhara Ponnana (1992) .... Madhava Menon
- My Dear Muthachan (1992) .... Parameswaran
- Sadhyam (1992)
- Swaroopam (1992)
- Mahanagaram (1992)...
- Mukhamudra (1992)... Double role
- Dhanam (1991)
- Georgekutty C/O Georgekutty (1991) .... Sunitha'sFather Itichen
- Godfather (1991) .... Balaraman (elder son of Anjooran)
- Kadavu (aka The Ferry) (1991)
- Kilukkam (1991) .... Judge Nambiar
- Mookilla Rajyathe (1991)
- Sandesam (1991) .... Raghavan Nair
- Venal Kinavukal (1991) .... Gopalakrishnan Nair
- Kuttettan (1990) .... Thomas Chacko
- Oliyampukal (1990) .... John Mathew
- Mathilukal (aka The Walls) (1990)
- Ee Kannikoodi (1990) .... Simon
- Kattu Kuthira (1990) .... Kochuvava
- Maala Yogam (1990) .... Mukesh's father
- Perumthachan (aka The Master Carpenter) (1990) .... Raman
- Radha Madhavam (1990)
- Rajavazhcha (1990) .... Madhava Panikkar
- Sasneham (1990) .... Retired Stationmaster
- Vachanam (1989) .... Police Officer
- Adharvam (1989) .... Mekkadan
- Chakkikotha Chankaran (1989) .... Raghavan Thampi
- Chanakyan (1989) .... Madhava Menon
- Jathakam (1989) .... Appukuttan Nair
- Jaithra Yathra (1989) ..... Prof. Banerjee
- Kaalal Pada (1989)
- Varnatheru (1989) ..... Rohini's Father
- Kireedam (1989) .... Achuthan Nair (Sethu's father)
- Naaduvazhikal (1989) .... Shankaran
- Varavelppu (1989) .... Ramakrishnan
- Varnam (1989) .... Major M. K. Nair
- Ammavanu Pattiya Ammalli (1989)... Menon
- Dhwani (1988) .... Vettukuzhi
- Kudumba Puranam (1988) .... Sankaran Nair
- Moonnam Pakkam (1988) .... Muthachan
- Pattana Pravesham (1988) .... Ananthan Nambiar
- Witness (1988) .... Vikraman Nair
- Mukthi (1988) .... Drunkard
- Thaniyavarthanam (1987)
- Achuvettante Veedu (1987) .... Damodaran Nair
- Amritamgamaya (1987) .... Kurup
- Manja Manthrangal (1987) .... Mathew Paul
- Nadodikkattu (1987) .... Ananthan Nambiar
- Sruthi (1987) .... Aasan
- Vilambaram (1987) .... James
- Ritubhetham (1987) ....
- Vratham (1987) ....
- Eennu Nathante Nimmi' (1986) .... Police Inspector
- Pranamam (1986) .... Aparna's Father
- Ee Kaikalil (1986) .... Ummachan
- Gandhinagar 2nd Street (1986) .... Maya's Father
- Ithile Iniyum Varu (1986) .... Kaimal
- Ennennum Kannettante (1986)
- Chilambu (1986) .... Appu Nair
- Irakal (1986) .... Mathukutty
- Kunjattakilikal (1986) .... Ayyappan Nair
- Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal (1986) .... Sofia's Stepfather
- Oridathu (1986) .... Raman
- Panchagni (1986) .... Raman
- Akalangalil (1986) ....
- Pappan Priyappetta Pappan (1986)
- Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam (1986) .... Damodaran
- Ee Lokam Ivide Kure Manushyar (1985) .... Krishna Pillai
- Yathra (aka Yaatra) (1985) .... Jailor
- Ente Kanakkuyil (aka Ente Kanakuyil) (1985) .... Kuttan Nair
- Ayanam (1985) .... Priest
- Anu Bandham (aka Anubandham) (1985) .... Menon
- Aram + Aram = Kinnaram (1985) .... M.N.Nambiar
- Koodum Thedi (1985) .... Priest
- Noketha Doorathu kannum Nattu (1985)
- Thammil Thammil (1985) ....
- Ambada Njane (1985) ....
- Upaharam(1985).... Divakaran
- Iniyum Katha Thudarum (1985)
- Katha Ithuvare (1985)
- Oru Kuda Keezil (1985) ....
- Akkachide Kunjuvava (1985) ....
- Vasantha Sena (1985) .... Unnithan
- Uyarangalil (1984) .... Police C.I
- Aattuvanchi Ulanjappol (1984) .... Karunakaran Nair
- Arante Mulla Kochu Mulla (1984) .... Bhargavan Pillai
- Engane Undasane (1984)
- Koottinilamkili (1984) .... Devasya
- Onnanu Nammal (1984) .... Sethu's father
- Oru Kochukatha Aarum Parayatha Katha (1984) .... Mammukka
- Panchavadi Palam (1984).... Ishak Tharakan
- Adaminte Variyellu (aka Adam's Rib) (1983) .... Purushothaman Nair
- Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku (1983) .... Fr. Joseph Sebastian
- Prasnam Gurutharam (1983) .... Mohan's father
- Prem Nazirine Kanmanilla (1983) .... Home minister
- Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flash Back (1983) ....
- Chiriyo chiri.... Film Producer
- Yavanika (aka The Curtain Falls) (1982) (as Tilakan) .... Vakkachan
- Kolangal (aka Caricatures) (1981) .... Drunk
- Ulkadal (1979) .... Rahulan's father
- Gandarvakshetram (1972)...
- Periyar. (1972)...First film.
Tamil films 
- Padma Awards announced, Press Information Bureau
- Zee News. "Veteran malayalam actor thilakan passed away". Retrieved September 24, 2012.
- Veteran Malayalam actor Thilakan dead
- "Interview with Thilakan".
- "54th National Film awards". Press Information Bureau (PIB), Govt of India. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
- Thilakan: Master of Expressions | Just Jo
- Gulf Times – Qatar’s top-selling English daily newspaper - India
- The Times Of India http://movies.indiatimes.com/news-gossip/regional-/malayalam/Thilakan-protests-Malayalam-film-body-demands-apology/articleshow/5554845.cms
|url=missing title (help).
- "Thilakan to enter Hollywood". One India. Feb 3, 2009.
- "It's official; Thilakan is out of Dam 999". Nowrunning. Mar 1, 2010.
- "Rajath Kapoor replaces Thilakan in Dam 999". One India. Mar 11, 2010.
- "Malayalam film body gives Thilakan another chance". Times of India. Retrieved 8 March 2010.[dead link]
- Bollywood Life. "Veteran malayalam actor thilakan passed away at the age of 77". Retrieved September 24, 2012.
- "Filmfare Awards South Lifetime Achievement Awards".
- "The 59th Idea Filmfare Awards 2011(South)". The Times of India. July 8, 2012. Retrieved 08-07-2012.
- "Bharat Gopi Award for Thilakan". The Hindu (Chennai, India). June 9, 2010.
- "Vayalar Ramavarma Chalachithra - Madhyama Awards 2011 announced".
- Thilakan at the Internet Movie Database
- Thilakan's Filmography in Malayalam Movies
- Interview with Thilakan in the Hindu newspaper
- Official Website of Information and Public Relation Department of Kerala