In an era of style and mannerisms, Gopy had none of it.
For Bharat Gopy, acting was consuming passion, near-sinful temptation, and deep meditation. It was never just a vocation. It was the demon which drove him and the God which lured him. He came like a stream out of a strange land, enriched Malayalam cinema, and meandered out silently.
From the haunted jobless man in ‘Swayamvaram’ to the lonely old father in ‘Rasathanthram,’ Gopy portrayed characters aplenty, infusing them with energies, which he drew deep from some mysterious well. At times, when we listen and watch his portrayals carefully, we can hear the lapping of water in that mythical well. But we can never see the glorious moon which was reflected in them. That was Gopy’s privilege and perhaps his burden too.
Biographers trace Gopy’s roots to theatre. But when one sees him express a world of hurt with a grimace, one suspects that his roots lie elsewhere, in something more primeval than drama, in something as ancient as the waters from which life itself emerged. Perhaps he knew it, or perhaps, as the Vedas say, even he did not.
Gopy’s uniqueness was his access to this mysterious source of creativity and his humility before it. Since this humility was real, it appeared in sullen tones. For he knew that every such a gift comes with a curse.
There could be nothing further apart than the glee of Kodiyettam’s Sankarankutty when he sees a speeding lorry and the sado-masochistic guffaw of the judge in Sandhya Mayangum Neram. Both are Gopy’s portrayals but neither are him. Perhaps the only actor who could have exchanged notes with Gopy was Laurence Olivier, another inimitable. But this alchemy of actor and character took its toll on his body in the long run, as it would. The great ones pay great prices.
In Gopy’s story, the cliché of an artist putting his soul in his work becomes a golden beatitude — a glowing and tragic truth. His genius was the strange mix of volcanic talent, smoldering passion and saintly earnestness. Too profound to be a textbook actor, Gopy remains a textbook for actors. That is, for the ones who like hard lessons.
About the Author.
Bharat Gopy’s Filmography
Bharat Gopy’s uniqueness as a film actor lay in his brilliant portrayals onscreen, based on narratives that spoke of life in all its simplicity, with a profundity that bordered on the divine. Take me there.
Awards and Honors
4 National Awards as Actor, Producer and Director and Author, the Kerala State Award for the Best Actor in 1977, 1982, 1983 and 1985 – the accolades did not stop there. Show me the complete list.