Thrice, veteran actor Thilakan came close to winning the National Award for the best actor, but all three times, he missed out. Irakal in 1986; Perunthachan in 1990; and now Ekantham, for which Madhu Kaithapram bagged the best debut director award. "Yes, it is a bit disappointing to lose out once again," Thilakan said in an interview to a National newspaper on Wednesday. "But I am glad that my effort in Ekantham has been recognized," he added. (Thilakan was given a special mention by the jury for his performance in Ekantham.)
"I did not win the award for Perunthachan because of political interference, I was told. I do not know why I did not get the award for Irakal, after I was congratulated on my victory by many, including reporters. I remember meeting Prem Nazir in Chennai shortly after the release of Irakal. 'You were brilliant in the film; I don't know how you act like that, I cannot,' he had told me. That itself was an award for me," Thilakan said.
However, he regretted that Ekantham was not appreciated in Kerala. "That is because the film had no stars – there were just me and Murali - and no sex or anything else to attract today"s viewers," he said.
Sathyan and Sivaji Ganesan too never won the National award, Thilakan points out. "So I am not alone," says the actor, whose forthcoming films include Vilapangalkappuram, Pazhassi Raja, Ayudham, Swapnangalil Hazel Mary, One Way Ticket and Ali Baba.
Thilakan is amused by reports that he lost out the National Award this time around in the final round because he was younger than Soumitra Chatterjee, the eventual winner. "I never knew age was a criterion for the national award," he added.