Thilakan, 77, who immortalised a wide range of characters on the celluloid with his powerful portrayals is no more. He had been battling for life in a hospital here for nearly a month and the end came at 3.35 am on Monday, leaving Malayalam cinema poorer.
A stream of visitors from all walks of life flocked to the hospital and other places where the body of the Perunthachan of acting was taken. It was first shifted to the house of one of his sons at Vettamukku and later to the flat near Thampanoor where he was residing. After public homage was paid at the VJT Hall, he was cremated with state honours at the Thycaud crematorium in the evening.
Thilakan has six children—Shaji, Shammi, Shobby, Shibu, Sofiya and Soniya — from three marriages.
Thilakan’s latest tryst with ailments started at a shooting location in Ottapalam over a month ago when he had a cardiac arrest. After a brief treatment in a Thrissur hospital, he was shifted to the capital. While at his son’s house here, he suffered another cardiac failure and was admitted to a private hospital. Later he was treated in another hospital, as he also had a cerebral stroke. He was on ventilator support due to multiple organ failure followed by a bout of pneumonia. His sons Shammi and Shobby were his side when the end came. The state government bore his entire medical expenses.
Beginning his career in the 1950s through the theatre movement, Thilakan made his film debut in Ulkadal in 1979. His latest film, Ustad Hotel is currently running in theatres. He acted in over 300 films in Malayalam, and many were hits with his outstanding performances like Perunthachan, Kireedam, Spadikam and Kilukkam.
He courted some controversies too towards the fag end of his career with his rebellious streak. But once he fell ill, the entire film world stood beside him in reverence.