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    Gopi, a versatile actor

    Thiruvananthapuram (PTI): Breaking the stereotype image of a "hero", eminent actor Gopi had earned a place in the hearts of Malayalam film lovers with his breath-taking performances in a variety of roles under various directors, including Adoor Gopalakrishnan and G Aravindan.

    Gopi died in a hospital here on Tuesday, where he was admitted two days back after he suffered a heart attack, while on a shooting location in Alappuzha district.

    Besides his splendid role in Adoor's "Kodiyettam" that fetched him the coveted National award, Gopi mesmerised the audience with a range of diverse characters like the Tabla artiste who could strangulate his lover with the same ease as he played the instrument in K G George's "Yavanika".

    Gopi broke the stereotype handsome and smart image of the "hero", with his balding head left only with flowing mane and lean and dark appearance.

    Be it a loving father, a passionate lover or village simpleton, Gopi produced the best out of him with poise and grace.

    While in G Aravindan's "Chidambaram," he depicted the pathetic plight of the protagonist attempting to flee away from past sins, his role as a dumb artist struggling to bring up a family in "Ormakkayi" by Bharathan are hailed by critics as instances of his versatility.

    His portrayal of the mental trauma of a judge who had to pass death sentences one after the other in "Sandhya Mayangum Neram," and the performance as a professor in "Kattathe Kilikkoodu" who develops a fancy towards a student leading to near breakdown of his family life are also testimony to a great career spanning over three decades.

    Director Bharathan also gave him notable roles in "Palangal" and "Padheyam."

    Like most renowned actors, Gopi entered the film world through the stage graduating from an amateur artiste to an actor of repute in the experimental theatre of later years.

    He made his debut in Adoor's "Swayamvaram", doing a minor role of a factory worker.

    The breakthrough in his career came with the lead and memorable role in Adoor's next film "Kodiyettam" on the gradual transformation of a rustic simpleton into a "societal individual" through encounters with realities of life outside the realm of his home and environs.

    Gopi never looked back since then but for a personal tragedy that came in the form of a paralytic stroke at the peak of his career. With his resolute will and devotion to acting, he made a comeback after an interlude of eight years and picked up roles suitable to him despite physical constraints.

    The recent flick, "Rasathantram" by Satyan Anthikad, gave the film lovers a chance to see their great actor once again on the silver screen.

    His performances in "Aalolam", "Rachana", "Ente Mamattukutty Ammakku", "Aksharangal", "Arorumariyathe" were noteworthy.

    He had that tremendous knack to absorb the essence of a character which enabled him to do a variety of roles, be it virtuous, villanous or the comic.

    Directors had acknowledged Gopi as an artiste who never compromised on paying meticulous attention to the minutest detail of the character for which he was cast.

    Gopi had also tried his hand at direction. Though dealing with serious themes, his films "Nhattadi", "Utsava Pittennu", "Yamanam" and "Ente Hridyathinte Udama" were not successful.


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