13 September 1960
|Other names||Oru Thalai Ragam Shankar|
Shankar, Romantic Hero of Mollywood
|Spouse(s)||Rooparekha (divorced) Chitralakshmi Erandath(2013 – Present)|
Shankar Panicker, is an Indian film actor and director, popularly known as Shankar (Malayalam: ശങ്കര്) in Malayalam films. In the early eighties, he was the most prominent superstar romantic lead actor of Malayalam cinema after Prem Nazir for nearly 10 years. Galatta Cinema magazine described him as the "True romantic hero of Mollywood" in their special edition on 100 years of Indian cinema. Shankar's debut Tamil film Oru Thalai Ragam ran for over 365 days in theatres. His Malayalam debut Manjil Virinja Pookkal ran over 200 days in theatres and is one of the all time blockbuster hit romantic films of the Malayalam film industry.
Shankar was born to Thekkeveettil NK Panicker and Sulochana in Kechery, Thrissur, Kerala in 1960. His family later moved to Chennai when he was 4 years old. His father was a senior manager at Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited. He has two siblings, Krishnakumar and Indra. He completed the schooling from St. Bede's Anglo Indian High School, Chennai. He pursued a Bachelors in History from Gadwarl University, Rishikesh. Later he joined South Indian Film Chambers of acting completing 2 years of an acting course.
As an actor
Shankar was one of hundreds to audition for Oru Thalai Ragam, but he was selected as the lead actor. Oru Thalai Ragam not only completed 365 days run in theatres but also became a cult romantic film of Tamil film history. The Navodaya Studio signed Shankar for their romantic film Manjil Virinja Pookkal along with newcomers Mohanlal and Poornima Jayaram, directed by Fazil. The success of Manjil Virinja Pookal made Shankar the leading young star of Malayalam films. Overnight Shankar became a hot property in both the Tamil and Malayalam film industry. He was the second star of Malayalam films of 80s after action star Jayan. He never experimented with his roles, and had a very large fan base in Kerala. Most of his ordinary films were hits just because of his presence.
His next Malayalam outing was in Guha with Menaka, his most successful costar and arguably the best hero heroine combination along with Prem Nazir – Sheela and Madhu-Srividhya, as a psychopath, but the film flopped. His later films Kadathu opposite Roja Ramani, Oothikachiya Ponnu with Poornima Jayaram and the successful Ente Mohangal Poovaninju cemented Shankar as the romantic hero of Malayalam films. Simultaneously his Tamil films Sujatha, Koyil Puraa, Mouna Yuddham and Raagam Thedum Pallavi also did good business. He tried a change in his appearance for Udhayamahirathu by shaving off his moustache. Success continued in Malayalam with Padayottam, Anuragakodathy, Kaliyamardanam, Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu and Engane Nee Marakkum, so he decided to concentrate on Malayalam films. His other successful films of 1983 are Mortuary, Hello Madras Girl and Himam. In 1984, Shankar appeared in Ente Kalithozan, Arante Mulla Kochu Mulla and Muthodu Muthu. He also gave break to new directors Priyadarsan and T.S.Suresh Babu with Poochakkoru Mookkuthi and Itha Innu Muthal respectively. Next year he was a part of the films Archana Aradhana, Ambada Njaane!, Aram + Aram = Kinnaram, Onnanam Kunnil Oradi Kunnil and Vannu Kandu Keezhadakki, but after Priyadarsan's successful thriller, Parayanumvayya Parayathirikkanumvayya, his performance was widely accepted as an action hero. In 1986, Shankar became a producer and turned Sibi Malayil into a family director with Chekkaeran Oru Chilla. His other major films of that year are Naale Njangalude Vivahum, Oppam Oppathinoppam and Sughamo Devi along with Mohanlal.
Shankar had fewer Malayalam releases in the late '80s as he tried different genres of films; Ajantha, a Jungle movie, Viswasichalum Illenkilum, a horror movie, Amme Bhagavathi, a devotional film and an animal movie Ithente Neethi. His comeback to Tamil films, Kadhal Enum Nadhiyinile (1989) was a success, but his much awaited action film Panthaya Kuthiraigal was not released. Meantime Shankar tried anti hero roles in Malayalam with Kizhakkunarum Pakshi and Abhimanyu, but as other projects like Aththi Poothirukku and Oru Pidi Mayilthandum Kurae Valapottukalum stalled, and his attempt to become director with Suresh Gopi starrer Rakshakan also did not materialize, he decided to take a break from films to concentrate on business,although he did guest roles in the films Manathe Kottaram, Gandharvam and Guru.
Shankar staged a comeback as lead hero in the films Sooryavanam, Bhadra, Sundarippravu and The Fire. He also acted in Stalin Sivadas with Mammootty, but all these films failed at the box-office. Shankar moved to television with a successful serial Ithu Manju Pole and continued to perform in serials Swara Raagam and Parasparam. He also won the 2006 Film Critics Television Best Actor Award for his performance in TV serial Chithrashalabham. His last serial Ammakkayi (aired in Surya TV) was a success mainly due to his being cast opposite his former leading lady from the 80's, Menaka. As he wanted to concentrate in films, he stopped doing serials and made his debut as a director with Virus, a film on HIV/AIDS, which was censored in 2007.
As a Director
Shankar directed a video film Kaatti in 2006 based on child labour which won him the best director award from Malayalam Television viewers DRISHYA awards for video film. He made his feature film debut with Virus, an Indo-American co-production urging society not to shun HIV/AIDS affected people. His first commercial Malayalam directorial venture Keralotsavam 2009 starred Kalabhavan Mani and Vinu Mohan dealt with how three youngsters falling prey to terrorist links. Though it was reported that his next Malayalam film would probably star Mohanlal, the project never materialized. In 2015, he released Sand City, a Tamil-Malayalam bi-lingual based at U.A.E. to good reviews.
|2006||Kaatti||Malayalam||—||Short film – Won Malayalam Television viewers DRISHYA awards for Best Director (Video Film Category)|
|2007||Virus||Malayalam||Abhinay, Sajitha Beti, Shankar||Based on HIV/AIDS|
|2009||Keralotsavam 2009||Malayalam||Vinu Mohan, Vishnu Priya, Nedumudi Venu|
|2015||Sand City||Malayalam||Prajin, Gowtham, Tejaswini Prakash, Varuna Shetty|
|2015||Manal Nagaram||Tamil||Prajin, Gowtham, Thanishka, Varuna Shetty|
The recent Malayalam films Shankar appeared in are Ividam Swargamanu directed by Roshan Andrews, alongside Mohanlal, Rhythm, and Koottukar. He performed in six films in 2012; Casanovva, Banking Hours 10 to 4, Hide N' Seek and the critically acclaimed films Father's Day, Oomakkuyil Padumbol and Bhoomiyude Avakashikal. In 2013, he was appreciated for his comic role in Anoop Menon scripted film Hotel California directed by Aji John. His other releases were Miss Lekha Tharoor Kaanunnathu and Cleopatra.
He also played an important role along with Indrajith and Murali Gopy in Naku Penda Naku Taka, and in 2015, he had the lead role in Vishwasam... Athallae Ellaam along with Shine Tom Chacko directed by Jayaraj Vijay as well as a special appearance in Balachandra Menon' s Njan Samvidhanam Cheyyum along with Menaka. In 2018 he starred in Niranjana Pookkal film and done main role in Oru Vathil Kottai film. He also had role in Mohanlal starred film "Drama" directed by Renjith. In 2019 Shankar directed another film named "Dance Night".
Shankar was instrumental in giving break to directors Bhadran, Priyadarshan and Venu Nagavally in three super hit movies Ente Mohangal Poovaninju (1982), Poochakkoru Mookkuthi (1984) and Sughamodevi (1986) respectively. Director Sibi Malayil changed to serious family films with Shankar's home production Chekkaeran Oru Chilla (1986). Director T.S.Suresh Babu' s debut venture Itha Innu Muthal had Shankar in lead role.
- Ithu Manjupole
- Swara Raagam (Kairali we tv)
- Ammakkayi (SuryaTV)
- Chithrashalabham (Amrtita TV)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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- "Ninaithu Ninaithu Parthen's music is brilliant". rediff.com. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
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- "My Career Mistakes". mangalam. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "The Second Coming". newindianexpress. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- "Pon Manam, Kadhal Enum Nadhiyinile". Film Review. 31 January 1989.
- "Dina Malar, Panthaya Kuthiraigale". Velli Malar. 17 August 1990.
- "Kalabhavan Mani in Shankar's Keralotsavam". Oneindia.in. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- "The circle of life". The Hindu. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- "Sand City Movie Review". movietoday. 2 January 2015. Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- "Sand City Movie Review". onlookersmedia. 2 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- "Sand City Film Review". muyals.com. 3 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- K, Aswathy (1 January 2015). "Back to Where He Belongs". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
- "എന്റെ വലിയ പിഴ". mangalamvarika.com. Retrieved 3 June 2015.