Dileep (born Gopalakrishnan,Malayalam: ദീലീപ്) is a Malayalam film actor. He is one of the reigning superstars in Malayalam cinema. He worked as an assistant to director Kamal and has also produced a few films. Dileep, who began his career as a mimicry artist, excels in films particularly of the comedy genre, though there is criticism from certain quarters that he is being stereotyped in comic roles. He has also handled serious roles in films such as Dhosth, The Don, and Lion.
Dileep was born on 27 October 1969 in Desom, Aluva, Ernakulam. His original name is Gopalakrishnan. He studied in Vidyadhiraja Vidya Bhavan high school, then joined Aluva U.C. College, and then moved to Maharajas College, Ernakulam. His talent for acting was not known in school and college where he rarely won any accolades or merits.
Gopalakrishan was an average student. During 1985–1987 he tried to perform as a mimicry artist in UC College but was not successful. On joining Maharajas College for B.A. Economics in 1989,Gopalakrisnan started to take mimicry seriously. Mimicry was only getting its roots in Kerala and it had a bright future. When Dileep finished his studies with M.A. History, he decided to choose art as his profession.
Dileep started his career in a troupe called Kalabhavan, working as a Mimicry artist. Later he got a chance to be the assistant director to director Kamal. While being an assistant director, Dileep did some small roles, debuting with just a small scene in Ennodu Ishtam Koodaamo (1992). He was then brought up by actor Jayaram. He recommended his name to many directors. The film Manathe Kottaram(1994) gave him the first break as the hero.
The film Sallapam (1996) was a turning point in his career, where he graduated to serious roles. He entered the Malayalam filmdom through Sallapam. With the film becoming a hit, Dileep proved that he has come to stay in the industry for long. His debut film earned him the name of a good comedy actor. By the time Punjabi House, a Rafi-Mecartin film hit the theatres Dileep had already done good homework on his part with some numbers good enough to capture the hearts of his well wishers as well as detractors.
His comic timing and dialogue delivery in films like Thenkasipattanam,Kalyana Sougandhikam(1996), Punjabi House(1998) and Ee Parakkum Thalika(2001) made him very popular among the Malayali audience. He rose to stardom with later films like Joker and Meesha Madhavan. His following films such as Kunjikoonan, Kalyanaraman, CID Moosa were super hits of Malayalam film industry. He is known by critics to have brought about the rise of "Slapstick comedy" in Malayalam cinema which till then was known to be "realistic" and effective.
Dileep ventured out of his comedy track sometimes and got critically acclaimed. His role in the offbeat film Kadhavaseshan(2004) was well appreciated. His role as a transvestite man from the family of fishermen in Chanthupottu (2005) won him many accolades, including special jury award of the Kerala State Film Awards. He fared as an action hero in Runway(2004),Kochirajavu(2005), Lion(2006), Chess(2006), DON(2006). In them Runway and Lion done well and become superhits. Chess become a hit film and DON reported average.
His first film with the acclaimed director Sathyan Anthikkad, titiled Vinodayathra, was released in April 2007. It is one of the appreciated Malayalam movie hits of the year 2007. Dileep's new film is with the master Director Siddique named Body Guard.
Dileep is married to actress Manju Warrier. Their marriage created a controversy on whether married heroines have to leave the field or not as Manju Warrier was the leading female actor in the Malayalam cinema industry at that time and she chose not to act after marriage. They got married on 20th October 1998 at Aluva Srikrishna Temple. The couple have one daughter - Meenakshi.