Film actors, both young and old, recall the stellar contribution of Thilakan:
Ranjith: Thilakan always fascinated me. He gave life to many characters I wrote. I am glad that I could get him act in Indian Rupee at a time when he was not doing mainstream Malayalam films. Ban or no ban, I would have gone ahead and signed him for Indian Rupee ; that role was written for him, just him.
Vineeth: From Nakhashathangal (1986) till Ideal Couple (2012), I have had a long and memorable association with Thilakan. I must have acted in more than 20 films with him; each one was an education for me as an actor.
I am fortunate that I began my career in my films at a time when Thilakan was there in most of the films. And some of my best films have been with him, such as Parinayam, Sargam, Rithubhedam, Ghazal and Sargam .
What a brilliant performance by him it was in Parinayam . I would never forget his scenes with Mohini. The way he looked and spoke added another dimension to MT’s great script.
I am told that he was fond of me; he appreciated my dancing skills. He used to tell me that dance was a divine art. He had told me that his son Shammi had learnt Mohiniyattom – if I remember correctly - from Kalyanikkutti Amma.
He had wanted to be part of a dance show for stage with Lakshmi Gopalaswamy and me. That was not to be.
Mammootty: There have been some personal issues with him but I have always had great respect for him. I have played his son in many films and my son has acted as his grandson. He was a father figure.
Mohanlal: I could be part of several great films with him.
Dileep: There will never be a substitute for Thilakan as an actor.
Jayaram: I remember director Padmarajan asking me to observe Thilakan while we were shooting for Moonnam Pakkam .
I gained a lot just by watching him perform. We did several memorable films together such as Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal and Jathakam.
Manoj K. Jayan: I was fortunate that I could work with him in Perunthachan so early in my career. And I was there in Ardhanari, the last film he completed. Both of us play transgenders in this film and he has come up with another brilliant performance.
Kavya Madhavan: Long before I became a heroine, he had told me that I would dominate Malayalam cinema as a heroine for years.
And he had said that the best thing about my face was my eyes and I should make use of them while emoting.
(As told to P.K. Ajith Kumar)