Suresh Gopinathan Nair (born 25 June 1960), often credited as Suresh Gopi is an Indian film actor who works mainly in Malayalam cinema; he is famous for his roles in police dramas. He is noted for his leading roles as much as his character roles. He is also famous for his philanthropic efforts.
He was born in Kollam to Gnanalekshmi and Gopinathan Pillai. Suresh Gopi did his schooling at the Infant Jesus Anglo-Indian High School at Thangasseri. He graduated in English Literature from Fatima Mata National College in Kollam. He is married to Radhika, the granddaughter of Aranmula Ponnamma, and has four children: Lekshmi(deceased), Gokul, Bhagya, Bhavna, and Madhav. He is settled at Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and is currently living in Sasthamangalam.
Suresh Gopi first appeared onscreen as a child in K. S. Sethumadhavan’s Odeyil Ninnu (1965). It was a popular film that had Sathyan in the lead role along with Prem Nazir.
He returned to acting in the mid-80s with Sathyan Anthikkad’s T.P. Balagopalan M.A. (1986), where he played a prospective groom in a small scene. He went on to play supporting and villain roles. Some other roles of his include Balan in Nandi Veendum Varika (1986), Kumar in Rajavinte Makan (1986), Vinod in January Oru Orma (1987), Shekaran Kutty in Irupatham Noottandu (1987), Suresh in New Delhi (1987), Harry in Oru CBI Diary Kurippu (1988), Unni in 1921 (1988), and Aromal Chekavar in Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989). He played the comic role of Inspector “Minnal” Prathapan in Manu Uncle (1988) and of Dr. Narendran in Padmarajan’s Innale (1989).
The films that made Suresh Gopi a bankable lead actor were Thalastanam (1992), Ekalavyan (1993), Mafia (1993) and Commissioner (1994), all by Shaji Kailas and scripted by Ranji Panicker. All of them were police dramas and had, more or less, similar themes. He became immensely popular with his role as Bharathchandran IPS in the block-buster movie Commissioner. Renji Panicker’s dialogues employed by Suresh Gopi in English became quite popular with the masses.During this period, most of his films were dubbed and simultaneously released in Telugu, which made him a sensation in Andhra Pradesh.
During the early to mid 90s, he also played characters of substance in films such as Jayaraj’s Paithrukam (1993), Fazil’s Manichithrathazhu (1993), Sathyan Anthikkad’s Samooham (1993) and Sibi Malayil’s Sindoora Rekha (1995).
The success of his cop roles led to more films of such nature, where he either played police officers or other tough characters in films such as City Police (1993), The City (1994), Rudraksham (1994), Kashmeeram (1994), and Mahatma (1996), with most of them failing to get noticed.
In 1997, with Jayaraj’s Kaliyattam (1997), an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, Suresh Gopi won the National Film Award for Best Actor for playing Kannan Perumalayan. He proved he was more than just another mainstream actor. This was a turning point in his career.
In the late 90s, Suresh Gopi was noted for playing in Joshi’s films such as Lelam (1998) and Pathram (1999), again, scripted by Ranji Panicker. He played Nasrani character Chackochi in Lelam and journalist Nandagopal in Pathram where he co-starred with Manju Warrier. Suresh Gopi, Jayaram, and Manju Warrier teamed up in Sibi Malayil’s Summer in Bethlahem (1998) which was a commercial success.
He started off 2000 with Millennium Stars directed by Jayaraj. The movie was a colossal flop. But he had a success later the same year in Thenkasipattanam. After 2000, when his films were doing fairly well, he decided to stop acting in movies depicting violence. It was also rumored that he was giving up his acting career for pursuing a political career. He acted in off-beat movies and accepted only soft roles from 2001 to 2005. With his movies failing to make an impact, he had just one release each in 2002 and 2003. In 2005, he decided to return to action movies. Ranji Panicker, scriptwriter of his most successful movie, Commissioner, directed the sequel Bharathchandran I.P.S. portraying him as the police commissioner. The movie was a super hit and was followed by a number of movies in the same genre, in which he played the typical police officer or detective. In 2006 he reunited with his favorite director Shaji Kailas for the movie Time, which had huge expectations but bombed at the box office. It was dubbed into Telugu as Police Ante Veedera and Hindi as On Duty, but failed to fetch better results.
Before coming to the film world, he had displayed great interest in the field of literature; his favourite authors are Bernard Shaw and Shakespeare. He is famous for his philanthropic efforts.
In 2008, Suresh Gopi appeared in multi-starrer Twenty: 20 produced by AMMA. Again, he acted with Mohanlal in Pakal Nakshatrangal, an off-beat movie directed by Rajiv Nath. In 2010, he appeared with Mohanlal, Dileep and Sarath Kumar for another multi-starrer Christian Brothers superstar suresh gopi
National Film Awards:
Best Actor – 1998 – Kaliyattam
Kerala State Film Awards:
Best Actor – 1998 – Kaliyattam
Film Critics Awards:
Film Critics Best Actor Award (three times)
Best Supporting Actor Award (four times)
In July 2005, he was considered for the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of a mentally distressed person in Ullam and as a doctor in Makalkku, but lost out to Mammootty.
Suresh Gopi’s father was a friend of producer Balaji and they both named their sons Suresh. Suresh Balaji is also a well known producer in South Indian industry. Suresh Gopi films of 1990′s were criticized for excessive violence and after 2000 Suresh Gopi pledged not to use a gun in any of his movies. This led to a five year downfall to his career. He revoked his pledge in 2005 to appear in Bharathchandran I.P.S. in which he appears with a revolver in the first scene.
He is a strong supporter of Indian National Congress and was close to former Kerala Chief Minister late K. Karunakaran.