If your son who is aspiring to become a sub-inspector of police and end up becoming a goon or if you are a respected teacher where your students are in high profile jobs and your son become an anti-social element or if you, as a father has to choose to end your son's life, what would be the emotions running through your mind? These are not situational questions to check one's emotional intelligence as to how one would deal while being surrounded by such unexpected turnings in one's life. How these were handled and given life by the actor Thilakan would help us unravel the latent talent in that human being which got polished through the medium of drama and terrifically enlivened the celluloid medium too.
Why another tribute to the actor when newspapers are flooded with write ups from eminent journalists? Though in his life time, the list of roles he enacted were quite exhaustive, I am sure that there would be quite a few like me who had been influenced by some of the roles that the actor enacted as an influencing father. During my college days, these roles had a deep impact on me as well as some of my colleagues that we were forced to discuss the dreams of our parents about us and how we could contribute in fulfilling it. Under this nostalgic influence, here is a peep into some of the character roles, wherein he brought life to those 'fathers', thereby trying to visualise the swing he brought in that roles through his performance.
The natural first choice has to be Achutan Nair, a police constable and a middle class government servant. His expectations revolve around his elder son who is aspiring to become a sub-inspector. Contrary to his dreams, his son becomes a goon. The gimmick life plays on an ordinary man is clearly and lucidly portrayed by his excellent acting in that movie Kireedam.
A loving father finally beats his son inside the lock up. The breaking down aspect of his dreams has been enacted wonderfully by this amazing actor. His emotional display on various situations across the movie just cannot be compared with any other. Whenever the situation demanded an inscrutable expression, he was able to provide that too. Needless to say, the film ended up having a sequel.
The movie Perunthachan was a visual feast on acting for an average Mallu. Contrary to a loving father in Kireedam, here the father is an authority in Thachusasthra who at the end chooses to end the life of his own son. Scripted by MT Vasudevan Nair, directed by debutant Ajayan, this movie was a much awaited one at those times. Thilakan played the title role. The scriptwriter was too sure that the character would be safe in the hands of Thilakan. It fetched him State Award and for the movie, a series of awards. The calm and composed Thachan giving his gyan on Thachusashtra with an authority had touched many a hearts. The war in the mind of a father before ending the life of his son - that too in a 'to be genuine manner' - will never fade from our minds.
Chacko Mash - the father of the hero in the movie Sphadikam has won him many accolades. The Maths teacher always believes that "bhoogolathinte spandanam thane kanakkilaanu" (the vibration of the universe itself is in Mathematics). He physically and emotionally tortures his son for not being good in studies. The tough teacher expecting none other than a Mathematical genius from his son is not willing to accept his son's other talents. He boasts that instead of his son, he will have the Chief Secretary coming for his daughter's marriage. The arrogance with which Thilakan sir has done this character is an ever memorable one. The anger, despair on the part of a father who failed to bring up his son as he wished is excellently displayed by this actor beyond comparison. Seemed this role would suit only to this legendary. Finally, he regrets what he had done and is willing to love his son as he is. The transformation from a hard core oppositionist father to one that understands his son has been portrayed in the celluloid by this actor without any parallels.
A more or less similar role was displayed in the movie Narasimham, wherein the role was of a judge. Thilakan had taken much care to bring the entire ego that the character needs and had fed the same into that role. It is surprising to see the father-son combination of Thilakan sir with Mohanlal. He himself had openly stated that when he acts with Mohanlal, he gets the feel of acting along with his son which naturally influences the outcome. The duo was also the father-son pair in the movie Evidom Swargamaanu.
Even though there are a lot more to list out, two other movies also need to be mentioned on this occasion. Meenathil thalikettu and Sandesham are unique in the roles offered to the actor. While the former one was of a father who faces an unexpected situation of his school going son getting married and bringing the bride home, the latter one was that of a helpless father who was stuck between his warring sons having lenience to rival political parties.
With a rough and tough voice, even his humming had its own impact on the serious situations on the screen. Controlled using of eyes in a poignant manner on emotionally exploding scenes was his hallmark. His good old days being in the drama moulded him a lot on acting turf. He has brought to life many other roles which were beyond comparison. For me, watching these movies quite often brought to feel simultaneously the tower of aspirations possessed by a father and an answer as to why a son should not throw stone on it. Now, I being a father, it is a pointer to me as well to respect my son's feelings and to differentiate what I should not do as a father. Thilakan's 'father' characters would ever be remembered by everyone along with his other roles which adorn our hearts making us feel nostalgic. My respectful tributes to the legend.