Bharat Gopy was the consummate craftsman of cinema. He made his mark as an actor, director and producer, earning the highest honors at the state and national level in all three domains. A pioneer of New Wave Cinema movement in Kerala, his screen portrayals were marked by a complete transformation of body, psyche and soul, so profound that sometimes it seemed to border on the divine.
Born Gopinathan Velayudhan Nair on 2 November 1937, at Chirayinkeezhu, in Thiruvanathapuram district, Gopy was the youngest of four children. He graduated in Science from Kerala University in 1957 and had a brief stint in the Kerala Electricity Board before plunging actively into professional theatre and then onto films.
Having acted in over a hundred stage productions, he also authored five plays including two for children. He was introduced into folk theatre through Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s Thiruvarangu in 1973, and actively nurtured his association with it despite his subsequent meteoric rise in films.
Bharat Gopy’s debut onscreen was a brief, but much-lauded appearance in Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s ‘Swayamvaram’ (1971), and his next was Adoor’s ‘Kodiyettam’ (1977); this time in a leading role, which won him the National Award for the Best Actor.
On February 20, 1986, at the height of his popularity as an actor, Gopy was struck down by a debilitating stroke that severely impaired him – but only physically. The defiant fighter that he was, he plunged headlong into other creative pursuits in both Cinema and Theatre – producing, directing and writing. And once again the accolades came calling.
The award-winning ‘Patheyam’ (1993) and ‘Yamanam’ (1991) were part of this creative pursuit as a filmmaker.
‘Abhinayam Anubhavam’, written by him, won the National Award for the Best work on Cinema, in 1994. His ‘Naataka Niyogam’, a treatise on theatre, won the State Award for the best book on Dramatics and Theatre, in 2002.
Bharat Gopy was not just an actor; he was a director, producer, litterateur and theatre virtuoso, and everything in between. Gopy remains a textbook for actors. That is, for the ones who like hard lessons.
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.