There was a time when restrictions had to be made upon Suresh Gopi films in the Telugu film industry, fearing that his movies collection might affect the collection of their native cinemas.The films that made Suresh Gopi a bankable lead actor were ‘Thalastanam‘, ‘Ekalavyan‘ and ‘Commissioner‘, all directed by Shaji Kailas and scripted by Renji Panicker. Most of his films were dubbed and simultaneously released in Telugu, which made him a sensation in Andhra Pradesh.
Let’s take a look at the rise of the superstar :
80’s Era – The rise from an actor to a bankable star
In ‘Odayil Ninnu’ of 1965, he made his debut as a child artist. In 1980s he made his comeback through ‘TP Balagopalan MA’. With his very next movie he made a mark in Mollywood. A photo of him appeared in the corner of front page of Chitrabhumi in 1986 saying “From child artist to a tall & handsome villain”. In 1987, he did more roles with notable contributions in ‘Bhoomiyile Rajakkanmar’ ‘P.C. 369’ and a scoop role in ‘New Delhi’. Movies like ‘The Witness’, ‘Manu Uncle’ ‘Douthyam’ & ‘Oru CBI Diary Kurippu’ further made him dependable not just as villain but also as a good supporting actor. He became a lead actor thorugh ‘The News’ ‘New year’ ‘Vachanam’ & ‘Aksharathettu’. It was ‘Vaddakan Veeraghata’s Aaromal Chekavar that sculpted the actor in Suresh Gopi to a new level & not to forget Suresh gopi from ‘Innale’.
90’s Era – From a Star to a Superstar
1990’s came with a sling of lead roles and a path slowly away from supporting & villain roles. 1992 was the year that made him a bankable lead hero with ‘Thalasthanam’. Some of the lead publications then wrote “Suresh Gopi – Major star in the making”. It was the movie by Shaji Kailas-Renji Panikkar team that made this fantastic and consistant journey fruitful. Vellinakshatram & Chitrabumi reported “New superstar is born”. It was Suresh Gopi on headlines of all movie news publications after ‘Ekalavyan’. Soon this movie became a milestone in Malayalam Cinema. ‘Commissioner’ the movie that broke records across India and made Suresh Gopi a pan South Indian actor.
‘Commissioner’ was the begining of Suresh Gopi being a lead actor whose dubbed movies created havoc in Andhra majorly & to a big extent in Tamil Nadu. Ananda Vikatan a leading Tamil magazine once wrote “Dubbed Movie Hero-Suresh Gopi” in 1996. A string of hits & blockbusters, not just in Kerala but across South, brought in a sudden growth for Suresh Gopi. ‘Lelam’ in 1997 broke all records and made an astounding 21 crores across South India. 1997 Suresh Gopi said he will stop doing ‘action & violence centric movies. Mathrubumi then reported about a lot of film crowd hoarding outside the gate of Suresh’s residence asking him to not do so.
Suresh Gopi also rejected a few major offers from Shaji Kailas. He got back to action with ‘Pathram’. This also brought into formation of first ‘Fans group’ for an actor in Kerala. Though Pathram broke records, it failed to capitalize on earlier dubbing benefits. ‘FIR’ brought him back with Shaji. With the clocking of 2000, Suresh Gopi was a superstar, great actor & a national award winner with huge recognition across south india.
2000 began with ‘Millenium Stars’ which flopped but his slow decision to move away from action movies again ended with movies like ‘Nariman‘ & ‘Sathyamevajayathe‘. He switched to comedy & family roles with movies like ‘Randam Bhavam’ ‘Sundara Purushan’ & ‘Thenkashipattanam’ and clicked for a while but didn’t prolong.His fans fans became very disapointed. He did not listen to his fans. With a decision not to pick up action movies & not so great run of some family based movies brought down number of movies he acted. One fine day Manorama & other news agencies reported that Suresh Gopi may get into politics with Congress party as an MLA and will stop acting in movies. All this negated & resulted in very less movies. For 3 years Suresh Gopi was not seen in Malayalam industry much.
In 2005 ‘Ullam’ ‘Makalku’ releases to positive critical opinion. Then came ‘Bharathchandran IPS’, theatres in Kerala roared to 90s frenzy. Vellinakshtram and Chitrabhumi wrote “Superstar comesback after long hiatus”. Suresh finishes with 2 Major hits in 2005 & 2nd place in State film awards. Second inings was strong untill 2008. Bad selection of movies affected his career. Movies like ‘Melvilasom‘ and ‘Apothecary‘ still shows us that actor in Suresh Gopi is still there. Its all about that one big movie that can bring back our Superstar.
Waiting for Renji Panikkar’s ‘Lelam 2’ & Shaji Kailas’s ‘The State’. We all love Mammootty & Mohanlal, but Malayalam cinema of 80s-90s generation is incomplete without the 3rd Superstar.