Screen inspector

Screen inspector

Screen inspector

He is the policeman Kerala police never had. Popular hero of Malayalam cinema, Suresh Gopi is one actor who has done the uniform proud every time he has donned it, even in his latest film The King and the Commissioner, where he played the supercop pitted against an IAS officer.

Suresh Gopi first donned the greasepaint as a child star in K S Sethumadhavan’s Odayil Ninnu, which starred the stalwarts of that time, Sathyan and Prem Nazir.

His first appearance after reaching adulthood was in Sathyan Antrhikad’s T P Balagopalan. A number of insignificant roles later, he managed to grab attention in films like Joshi’s New Delhi and the Hariharan’s Oru Vadakan Veera Gatha. But, it was an unpretentious film, Anaval Modhiram, which featured Gopi as a police sub-inspector.

Since then, there has been no looking back. It was the Shaji Kailas-Renji Panikkar duo that almost patented the police officer role for Suresh Gopi in a number of films. But performing the same character ad nauseam did take a toll on his career.

Films like Commissioner and the Renji Panikkar-directed Bharathchandran IPS created a huge impact on the box office with the piece de resistance in these films being not just the rugged, ‘Dirty Harry’ appearance of the lead star, but also the fiery, hard-hitting dialogues, interspersed with a generous dose of English, all penned by Renji Panikkar.

The actor, however, did show his softer side in family dramas and films like Innale, Harihar Nagar, Manichithrathazhu, Thenkasi Pattinam and Summer in Bethlehem, which were all movies that found favour with the audience.

Two films that stand out in Suresh Gopi’s filmography are Kaliyattam, based on Shakespeare’s Othello, and Joshi’s Lelam as Chackochi, the hard-nosed liquor baron. Kaliyattam fetched him the coveted National Award for Best Actor.

His enactment of a lawyer’s role in the hit film Chintamani Kola Case too merited critical acclaim with his dialogue delivery stealing the thunder. Gopi shared the frames with Mohanlal in films like Manichithrathazhu, Twenty Twenty, Pakal Natchathirangal and the multi-starrer Christian Brothers, which was one of the biggest hits in 2011.

The much touted Shaji Kaila- directed The King and the Commissioner, with Mammooty and Suresh Gopi, scripted by Renji Panikkar, however, did not live up to the hype and was panned by critics.

Melvilasam, a quickie with Tamil actor Parthiban, supposedly shot in a single room, found Suresh Gopi in his elements and the film even notched up a National Award. Suresh Gopi has also signed films like Raksha, Violet and Pathram 2 besides Anthima Theerpu in Telugu.

But the film that should gladden the hearts of his fans in Tamil cinema would be the Vikram-starrer I, for which Suresh Gopi has been pencilled in for a pivotal role. Gopi, who had acted with Ajith Kumar in Deena and Samasthanam, returns to the Tamil screen with this Shankar presentation.

Suresh Gopi keeps himself busy these days with a popular TV show Ningalkumaagam Kodeeswaran — his first foray on the small screen — the Malayalam version of Kaun Banega Crorepathi (KBC).

The actor has gone on record to say that some of the hard-luck stories of the people who occupy the hot seat have taxed him a lot, draining him emotionally. A self-confessed fan of the original KBC anchor, Amitabh Bachchan, Gopi admits that Bachchan remains leaps ahead of everyone else who has hosted the show, irrespective of the language.

Despite being a huge box-office draw, with a number of hit films behind him, Suresh Gopi has remained a calm, cool and collected individual, extremely warm and accessible with hardly any airs about him — all traits that have sent his popularity graph soaring in an industry where egotists abound.

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