Suresh Gopi (born 25 June 1960) is a National Award-winning Malayalam film actor who is famous for his roles in police dramas. He is noted for his leading roles as much as his character roles. He is also famous for his philanthropic efforts.
He was born in Kollam to Gnanalekshmi and Gopinathan Pillai. Suresh Gopi did his schooling at the Infant Jesus Anglo-Indian High School at Thangasseri. He graduated in English Literature from Fatima Mata National College at Kollam. He is married to Radhika, and has four kids: Lekshmi (died), Gokul, Bhagya, Bhavna, and Madhav. He is settled at Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and is currently living in Sasthamangalam.
Suresh Gopi first appeared onscreen as a child in K. S. Sethumadhavan's Odeyil Ninnu (1965). It was a popular film during the 1960s which had Sathyan in the lead role along with Prem Nazir.
He came back into acting during the mid-80s in Sathyan Anthikkad's T.P. Balagopalan M.A. (1986), where he played a prospective groom in a small scene. He went on to play supporting and villain roles. Some other roles of his include Balan in Nandi Veendum Varika (1986), Kumar in Rajavinte Makan (1986), Vinod in January Oru Orma (1987), Shekaran Kutty in Irupatham Noottandu (1987), Suresh in New Delhi (1987), Harry in Oru CBI Diary Kurippu (1988), Unni in 1921 (1988), and Aromal Chekavar in Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989). He played the comic role of Inspector "Minnal" Prathapan in Manu Uncle (1988) and of Dr. Narendran in Padmarajan's Innale (1989).
He played Sethumadhavan in Siddique-Lal's blockbuster In Harihar Nagar (1990). Another role was of Christopher Luke in Viji Thampy's Nagarangalil Chennu Raparkam (1990). The film that helped him get noticed as a serious police officer was the satirical comedy Aanaval Mothiram (1990), where he played Sub-Inspector Nandakumar and co-starred with Sreenivasan.
The films that made Suresh Gopi a bankable lead actor were Thalastanam (1992), Ekalavyan (1993), Mafia (1993) and Commissioner (1994), all by Shaji Kailas and scripted by Ranji Panicker. All of them were police dramas and had, more or less, similar themes. He became immensely popular with his role as Bharathchandran IPS in the block-buster movie Commissioner. Renji Panicker's dialogues employed by Suresh Gopi in English became quite popular with the masses.
During this period, most of his films were dubbed and simultaneously released in Telugu, which made him a sensation in Andhra Pradesh.
During the early to mid 90s, he also played characters of substance in films such as Jayaraj's Paithrukam (1993), Fazil's Manichithrathazhu (1993), Sathyan Anthikkad's Samooham (1993) and Sibi Malayil's Sindoora Rekha (1995).
The success of his cop roles led to more films of such nature, where he either played police officers or other tough characters in films such as City Police (1993), The City (1994), Rudraksham (1994), Kashmeeram (1994), and Mahatma (1996), with most of them failing to get noticed.
In 1997, with Jayaraj's Kaliyattam (1997), an adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello, Suresh Gopi won the precious National Film Award for Best Actor for playing Kannan Perumalayan. He proved he was more than just another mainstream actor. This certainly was a turning point in his career.
In the late 90s, Suresh Gopi was noted for playing in Joshi's films such as Lelam (1998) and Pathram (1999), again, scripted by Ranji Panicker. He played Nasrani character Chackochi in Lelam and journalist Nandagopal in Pathramwhere he co-starred with Manju Warrier. Suresh Gopi, Jayaram, and Manju Warrier teamed up in Sibi Malayil's Summer in Bethlahem (1998) which was a commercial success.
He started off 2000 with Millennium Stars directed by Jayaraj. The movie was a colossal flop and severely affected the careers of all the stars involved. But he had another success later the same year in Thenkasipattanam. After 2000, when his films were doing fairly good in box office, he decided to stop acting in movies depicting violence, a decision which he would regret later. It was also rumored that he was giving up his acting career for pursuing a political career. He acted in off-beat movies and accepted only soft roles in the period 2001-05. With movies failing to make an impact, he started to fade out with just one release each in 2002 and 2003. But in 2005, realizing his mistake, he decided to make a comeback in action movies. Ranji Panicker, script writer of his most successful movie Commissioner, directed the sequel Bharathchandran I.P.S. portraying him as the police commissioner. The movie was a super hit and was followed by a number of movies in the same genre in which he played the typical police officer or detective. While some of them like The Tiger, Chinthamani Kolacase directed by Shaji Kailas, Nadiya Kollappetta Rathri directed by K. Madhu and Detective were successful, all the others such as Time, Aayudham, Thavalam, Rashtram, Pathaka, Bullet and Smart City were flops. In between he attempted to do a different role with negative shades in Lanka which, however, flopped in the box-office and also ignited a controversy for an unaesthetic kissing scene with his female co-star, Mamta Mohandas. In 2006 he reunited with his favorite director Shaji Kailas for the movie Time which had huge expectations, but failed miserably in the Box Office. It was dubbed into Telugu as Police Ante Veedera and Hindi as On Duty, but failed to fetch better results.
Before coming to the film world, he had displayed great interest in the field of literature; his favourite authors are Bernard Shaw and Shakespeare. He is famous for his philanthropic efforts.
In 2008, Suresh Gopi appeared in multi-starrer Twenty: 20 produced by AMMA. Again, he acted with Mohanlal in Pakal Nakshatrangal, an off-beat movie directed by Rajiv Nath.