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Born in 1937 at Chirayinkil, he had made his debut in a minor role in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Swayamvaram (1972). Later he did the lead role in the director's next film Kodiyettam, which earned him the Bharat award for best actor.
Gopi played unforgettable roles in veteran filmmakers G Aravindhan, Padmarajan, Bharathan, Adoor and KG George. He had also done the role of a trade union leader in Govind Nihalani's Hindi film Aghat. Kodiyettam, Ormakkayi, Yavanika, Panchavadippalam, Aadaminte Vaariyell, Peruvazhiyambalam, Kallan Pavitran, Sandhya Mayangum Neram, Kaattaththe Kilikkooodu, Aaghat, Chidambaram and the recent Rasathantram are some of the master pieces of the late actor.
After a paralytic stroke at the prime of his career, Gopi had to keep off the limelight for a few years before he made a comeback despite physical constraints. Gopi suffered a heart attack last week on location of Balachandra Menon's De Ingottu Nokkiye at Krishnapuram Palace near Kayamkulam last week and was admitted to a local hospital. Later, he was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram for special treatment.
The entire Malayalam film fraternity expressed grief at the loss. Chief Minister of Kerala VS Achuthanandan, Megastars Mammootty, Mohan Lal and Director Adoor Gopalakrishnan expressed their deep grief over Gopi's sudden demise. The Kerala film artist Association AMMA also condoles for the death of Gopi.