Born: Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai
27 October 1968 (age 43)
Aluva, Kerala, India
Alma mater: Maharajas College, Ernakulam (B.A.)
Occupation: Actor, Film producer
Years active: 1991–present
Spouse: Manju Warrier (1998–present)
Awards :Kerala State Film Awards
2002 Special Jury Award Kunjikkoonan
2005 Special Jury Award Chanthupottu
2011 Best Actor Award Vellaripravinte Changathi
Dileep (born Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on 27 October 1968) is an Indian film actor, impressionist and producer. He has starred in more than a 100 Malayalam films, best known for his comic performances.
Dileep started his film career as an assistant director to Kamal. He was quite popular with the masses for his impressionist stage shows and the Comicola television comedy series on Asianet. His role as Dilip in Manathe Kottaram (1994) paved way to his acting career. Films such as Sallapam (1996), Ee Puzhayum Kadannu (1997), Punjabi House (1998), and Udayapuram Sulthan (1999) established Dileep’s status as a prominent actor during the late-1990s.
Dileep started off the 2000s with commercially successful films such as Joker (2000), Thenkasipattanam (2000), Ishtam (2001), and Ee Parakkum Thalika (2001). The blockbuster status of Meesa Madhavan (2002) established Dileep as a bankable star. He won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for his role as Madhavan. He won his first Kerala State Film Award (Special Jury) for his performance in Kunjikoonan (2002). He ventured into production, and produced and starred in C.I.D. Moosa (2003) under the banner Grand Productions. Kathavasheshan (2004) won Dileep the Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film as a producer.
Dileep won his third Kerala State Film Award (Special Jury) for his performance in Chanthupottu (2005), and has since starred in several critical and commercial successes, including Thilakkam (2003), Perumazhakkalam (2004), Runway (2004), Pandippada (2005), Kochi Rajavu (2005), Lion (2006), Vinodayathra (2007), Calcutta News (2008), Passenger (2009), Bodyguard (2010), Marykkundoru Kunjaadu (2010), China Town (2011) and Mayamohini (2012). Dileep has thus established himself as one of the most successful actors of Malayalam cinema.
Under the banner of Grand Productions, Dileep had taken one of the most challenging tasks as a producer, for casting all the actors of Malayalam cinema in a film. He produced the multi-starrer Twenty:20 (2008) in order to raise funds for the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA). It went on to become the highest-grossing Malayalam film of all-time. His production house has produced other films such as Malarvaadi Arts Club (2010) and The Metro (2011).
Dileep was born on 27 October 1968 in Aluva, Ernakulam district, Kerala to Padmanabhan Pillai and Sarojam. He studied at S.N.V. Sadanam School and Vidyadhiraja Vidya Bhavan High School, then joined Aluva U.C. College, and then transferred to Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam. His talent for acting was not known in school and college, where he rarely won any accolades or merits. During 1985–1987 he tried to perform as a mimicry artist at UC College but was not successful. On joining Maharaja’s College for a B.A. in History in 1989, Dileep started to take mimicry seriously. Mimicry was only getting its roots in Kerala at the time. Dileep gained fame in mimicry by imitating Mohanlal and Innocent. He gained entry into Malayalam cinema through actor Jayaram who recommended him to director Kamal to work as an assistant director. Dileep was very popular among the Keralites through the Onam based Comic albums De Maveli Kombathu, along with his friends Nadir Shah and Abi
Dileep started his career at Kalabhavan, working as a mimicry artist. He also played a lead role in Asianet’s hit comedy program Comicola. Later he got a chance to be the assistant director to Kamal. While being an assistant director, Dileep did some small roles, debuting with just a small scene in Kamal’s Ennodu Ishtam Koodaamo (1992). He was then brought up by actor Jayaram. He recommended his name to many directors. The film Manathe Kottaram (1994), directed by Sunil, gave him the first break and his screen name Dileep came into place through the character of the same name that he played. Other minor roles during this time included Joshi’s Sainyam (1993), Sibi Malayil’s Sindoora Rekha (1995), Urvashi’s Pidakozhi Koovunna Nootand (1994), Kamal’s Ulladakkam (1993) and Sudhinam (1994).
By the mid-90s he started getting more prominent roles. He played a supporting role in Sathyan Anthikkad’s Thooval Kottaram (1996) starring Jayaram and Manju Warrier in the lead. He also did another supporting role in the Jayaram-starring film Swapna Lokathe Balabhaskaran (1996). The film Sallapam (1996) was a turning point in his career; with the commercial success of the film he started becoming noted as an actor. He played the lead role in Kamal’s Ee Puzhayum Kadannu in 1996. In both Sallapam and Ee Puzhayum Kadannu he co-starred with Manju Warrier, whom he later married. He played a supporting role in I. V. Sasi’s Varnapakittu in 1997. It was playing Unnikrishnan in Rafi-Meccartin’s Punjabi House (1998) that made him popular as a comic actor. Another interesting role of that time was Ommanakuttan in Meenathil Thalikettu (1998). His first Priyadarshan film was Megham (1999), starring Mammootty. In Lal Jose’s Chandranudikkunna Dikhil (1999), he co-starred with Kavya Madhavan.
2000s: Rise to stardom
Some of his interesting comedy films in the early 2000s include Mr. Butler (2000), Darling Darling (2000), and Ee Parakkum Thalika (2001). A major commercial success was Rafi-Meccartin’s Thenkasipattanam (2000), where he co-starred with Suresh Gopi and Lal. A. K. Lohithadas’s Joker (2000) also did very well; Dileep was noted for playing Babu. With the commercial success of such comedy-melodramas, Sibi Malayil’s Ishtam (2001), Aku Akbar and Aby Jose’s Mazhathullikkilukkam (2002), and Sasi Shankar’s Kunjikkoonan (2002), Dileep had established himself as a commercially viable actor. He won the Kerala State Film Special Jury Award for playing Kunjan in Kunjikkoonan. It was playing Madhavan in Lal Jose’s Meesa Madhavan (2002) that made a star out of Dileep. It was quite different from his usual slapstick roles. During 2000-2002 period most of the malayalam filims were failing at the boxoffice and malayalam filim industry seemed to be in a declined phase. Meesa Madhavan was the first blockbuster during that period. Dileep was the man who gave rebirth to malayalam filim industry. He later went on to play in Shafi’s Kalyanaraman (2002), Jayaraj’s Thilakkam (2003), and Johny Antony’s C.I.D. Moosa (2003) (which he produced himself). He also produced and starred in T. V. Chandran’s critically acclaimed Kadhavaseshan (2004). His comic timing and dialogue delivery in films made him popular among Malayali audiences, though there was criticism from certain quarters that he had been typecast in slapstick comic roles. In 2004, he starred in Priyadarshan’s Vettam.
His role as an effeminate man from a family of fishermen in Lal Jose’s Chanthupottu (2005) won him the Special Jury Award at the Kerala State Film Awards. He played an action hero in Runway (2004), Kochirajavu (2005), Lion (2006), Chess (2006), and Don (2006). Critics and audiences alike responded poorly to his performance in Shaji Kailas’s Don. He played the athlete Arjun in Speed Track, the debut of director Jayasurya. His second film with the acclaimed director Sathyan Anthikkad, Vinodayathra, was released in April 2007. It was one of the most critically appreciated Malayalam movies of the year 2007. He also had the chance to play in Blessy’s Calcutta News (2008), though this film was not as well received compared to Blessy’s previous films.
Dileep produced Joshi’s Twenty:20 (2008), which is considered to be the highest-grossing film in Malayalam cinema ‘. In the year 2009, he had a good start. His film Crazy Gopalan performed very well at the box office compared to his other movie, Colours, which only had an average performance. Although the highly anticipated Moss & Cat directed by veteran director Fazil did not perform very well at the box office, his other 2009 film, Passenger, directed by debutant Ranjith Shankar, where he starred along with Mamta Mohandas and Sreenivasan, was a runaway success. His next film, Swantham Lekhakan, had an above-average performance.
In the beginning of 2010 Dileep joined a couple of veterans in Malayalam film: Sidhique and Kamal. The first one, Bodyguard, directed by Siddique, was a critical and commercial success. He was praised for his performance as Jayakrishnan. His next film, Aagathan, directed by Kamal, was also a critical and commercial success. Pappy Appacha, a Mammas film, became the sixth highest grosser of 2010.
His production venture Malarvadi Arts Club, directed by Vineeth Sreenivasan, was also a runaway hit. His next film Karyasthan was his 100th: a mega-hit collecting a whopping 5 crores share and is known as a comeback movie by his fans. It ran for more than 100 days. Karyasthan was the third topmost grosser in the box office of Kerala in 2010. His Marykkundoru Kunjaadu was a super-duper success at the box office and is considered to be a blockbuster. Dileep was chosen as the No. 1 actor by Sify in 2010 because most of his films were superhits. His next movie, Christian Brothers, is creating box office history with super reports. It has taken amazing distributors share of 8.25 crores in just 25 days which is a record for Malayalam film. His China town was released on April 14 as a Vishu release and is having bad reports since it lacks story. Dileep brought his absolute comic timing with his co-stars Jayaram and Mohanlal. His next film Orma Mathram, a Madhu Kaithapram movie got released in nearly 60 theaters. Being an art movie, theater responses was not so great, but it was critically acclaimed . His next movie was The Filmstaar with Kalabhavan Mani where he did an extended cameo. Then he did the movie Vellaripravinte Changathi which was not a big hit at the box office, but got him the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor.
His releases in 2012 till now are Mayamohini, where he plays the role of a man forced to act as a woman under certain circumstances, and Shyamaprasad’s Arike. Mayamohini, which garnered significant attention prior to release due to Dileep’s portrayal of a female character, was released in April 2012 and is one of the highest grossing films of 2012. His forthcoming release is Mr. Marumakan, a Sandhya Mohan film scripted by the screenwriter-duo Udayakrishna-Siby K. Thomas. The movie is notable for the debut of former child actress Sanusha as a female lead in Malayalam. He also has another 8 projects lined up, including Viji Thampi’s Nadodimannan, Jithu Joseph’s My Boss and Kodi Ramakrishna’s Telugu biopic Baba Sathya Sai.
Dileep married actress Manju Warrier on 20 October 1998 at the Aluva Srikrishna Temple. Their marriage created a discussion about whether married actresses should be expected to leave the field: Manju was a leading actress in Malayalam cinema during the late 1990s but chose to stop acting after marriage. The couple have one daughter named Meenakshi.
Kerala State Film Awards:
2011 – Best Actor for Vellaripravinte Changathi
2005 – Special Jury Award for Chanthupottu
2004 – Second Best Film (Producer) for Kathavasheshan
2002 – Special Jury Award for Kunjikoonan
2002 – Best Actor for Meesa Madhavan
Kerala Film Critics Association Awards
2004 – Best Actor Award for Kathavasheshan
2002 – Best Actor Award for Kunjikoonan
2000 – Best Supporting Actor Award for Joker
Mathrubhumi Film Awards
2002 – Best Actor Award for Kunjikoonan
2001 – Best Popular Actor Award for Joker
Asianet Film Awards
2010 – Most Popular Actor Award for Kaaryasthan, Bodyguard, Pappy Appacha and Marykkundoru Kunjaadu
2008 – Best Film Award (Producer) for Twenty:20
2002 – Best Actor Award for Kunjikoonan
2002 – Best Star Pair Award for Meesa Madhavan
2011 – Best Actor Award for Orma Mathram
2006 – JC Foundation Special Jury Award for Chanthupottu
Sathyan Memorial Award
2010 – Amrita-FEFKA Film Award for Most Popular Actor
2010 – Jaihind TV Film Award’s Chalachithra Prathibha Puraskaram
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