Gopinathan Velayudhan Nair, also known as Bharat Gopi (2 November 1937 – 29 January 2008), was an Indian film actor, producer, and director. He was one of the first actors to be associated with the New Wave cinema movement in Kerala during the 1970s.
He has won many awards, including the National Film Award for Best Actor for his role as Sankarankutty in Kodiyettam (1977), and hence he got the name Bharath. His well-known roles include Aiyappan in Yavanika, Vasu Menon in Palangal, Prof. "Shakespeare" Krishna Pillai in Kattathe Kilikoodu, Dushasana Kurup in Panchavadi Palam, Nandagopal in Ormakkayi, Mammachan in Adaminte Vaariyellu, Shankaran in Chidambaram, and Krishnan Raju in Aghaat.
As a filmmaker he is known for Ulsavapittennu (1989) and Yamanam (1991). He produced the movie Padheyam (1993) directed by Bharathan. In 1991 the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri for his contributions towards the arts. On 24 January 2008, Gopi was hospitalised with chest pains. He died five days later following a cardiac arrest.
Bharath Gopi was born on 2 November 1937 at Chirayinkeezhu in Thiruvananthapuram District of the state of Kerala as the youngest of four children to Kochuveetil Velayudhan Pillai and Parvathyamma. He completed his BSc. Degree from University College, Thiruvananthapuram. Immediately after his studies, he was employed as Lower Division Clerk in the Kerala Electricity Board.
He is married to Jayalakshmy.S.V. The couple has a son writer-actor Murali Gopy and a daughter Dr. Minu Gopy.
Gopi began his acting career as a theatre actor at Prasadhana Little Theatres under G. Sankara Pillai. His first stage appearance was in the role of Raaghavan in the play Abhayarthikal. Later on, he became associated with Thiruvarange under Kaavalam Narayana Panicker. He has also written five plays and directed three.
Gopi became interested in cinema through the Chitralekha Film Society, founded by Adoor Gopalakrishnan. He made his movie debut in Adoor's Swayamvaram in 1972 in a small role. He did the lead role of Sankarankutty in Adoor's next film, Kodiyettam (1977), a performance for which he won the National Award for Best Actor. He was also noted for his performances in movies like Ormakkayi, Yavanika, Panchavadi Palam and Adaminte Vaariyellu. Besides Malayalam movies, he acted in two Hindi movies, Aaghat and Satah Se Uthata Aadmi. Gopi was a film director and producer as well. Gopi was paralysed by a stroke on 20 February 1986, at the zenith of his career.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991.
In 1979, Gopi directed the movie Njattadi with Murali in lead role. The movie was only screened twice and the print is now lost. He directed three more movies Ulsavapittennu, Yamanam and Ente Hridhayathinte Utama. His Yamanam, about a physically handicapped person, was awarded Best Film on social issues by the National Award Jury in 1991.
On 24 January 2008, Gopi was hospitalised with chest pain. He died five days later following a cardiac arrest. His last role was in Balachandra Menon's De Ingottu Nokkiye (2008).
Gopi authored two books. His book Abhinayam Anubhavam (Acting, Experience), won the national award for the best book on cinema in 1994. Nataka Niyogam, his book on drama won the state award for best book on drama in 2003.Special Jury Award at the Asia Pacific International Film Festival, Tokyo (1985)
A five-film retrospective of his films was held in Paris, France by the Government of France (1985). The only other Indian actors to be awarded this honour are Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Amitabh Bachchan
Padma Shri – 1991
Best Actor – Kodiyettam – 1977
Best Film on Other Social Issues – Yamanam – 1991
Best Book on Cinema – Abhinayam Anubhavam – 1995
Best Film Award – Padheyam – 1991 (as producer)
Best Actor – Kodiyettam – 1977
Best Actor – Ormakkayi – 1982
Best Actor – Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku, Eenam, Ettillam, Kattathe Kilikoodu – 1983
Best Actor – Chidambaram – 1985
1982 – Best Actor – Ormakkayi
Four critics awards
Two Gulf Malayali association awards