Veteran Malayalam actor Thilakan, who enthralled audiences with his portrayal of diverse characters on stage and screen for nearly four decades, died at a private hospital here early today following a cardiac arrest.
He was 77 and had been ailing for some time.
Thilakan was admitted to the hospital on August 23 after he suffered two mild heart attacks. He had been on and off ventilator since then and the end came at 3.35 am today, sources said.
The veteran actor, who kickstarted his acting career in his intermediate days, left an indelible mark on stage before entering films. He was associated with several drama troupes including the pro-Communist Kerala Peoples’ Arts Centre in his early days.
His first notable presence on screen was inUlkadal (1979) directed by K.G. George. His first minor role was in Gandharva Kshetram (1972) by A. Vincent and then in Periyar (1973) by P.J. Antony, according to film historian Balagopal.
Thilakan won the national award for best supporting actor for his performance inRitubhedangal in 1988. In 2007, he got special mention from the national jury for his role in the film Ekantham. He had won the state government’s best actor award twice and the best supporting award six times.
In his screen career spanning three decades, Thilakan had acted in more than 300 films. His most notable films include Kireedam, Yavanika, Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu, Kilukkam, Perumthachan and Ritubhedangal.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009.
Thilakan’s body was taken to his son Shobby’s house in the morning and later to the VJT hall where people are queuing up to pay their last respects.
His body would be cremated at the electric crematorium in the city in the evening with full state honours, official sources said.