Here is how Suresh Gopi became the 'Supreme Star' of Telugu cinema

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Noted producer Kahder Hassan reveals an interesting yet unknown fact about veteran Malayali actor Suresh Gopi. In a Facebook post, Hassan says that the dubbed versions of Suresh Gopi's action thrillers were once a rage in Andhra Pradesh. There was a time when Suresh Gopi was a well-known figure in the Telugu cinema. Khader Hassan who is known for introducing Malayali moviegoers to dubbed Telugu cinema says Suresh Gopi was popular in Andhra Pradesh just like Allu Arjun and his movies are hits in Kerala.

Hassan calls Suresh Gopi, the roaring lion of Malayalam cinema, and begins his post by wishing the actor on his birthday. "Just as Telugu movies Arya, Happy, Bunny, Krishna, Hero, Happy Days, Badrinath, Gajapokkiri, and Baahubali were hits in Kerala, our Malayalam movies too had enjoyed success in Andhra. Our Suresh Gopi was popular there in the 1990s just as Allu Arjun is a big star here now. It was due to his stardom that the market of Malayalam action movies surged.

The movie Commissioner made the by the director – scriptwriter duo Shaji Kailas and Renji Panicker was released during the Vishu season in 1994. It became a massive hit in Kerala and was soon dubbed into Tamil and Telugu as well. Both these versions went on to become top grosser to the utter surprise of its distributors. The Telugu version titled 'Police Commissioner' was the most successful among the two. It created history by running successfully for more than 100 days in theaters across Andhra Pradesh. The Telugu version became a success even in Karnataka. After the great success of this movie, the Telugu and Tamil versions of the movie Ekalavyan which was actually released before Commissioner hit the theaters under the title CBI Officer. This movie had earned Suresh Gopi the title of ‘Supreme Star’ in Andhra Pradesh," writes Hassan.

He recalls how huge crowds had swarmed the theaters in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam to catch the first show of the movie Mafia. Hassan notes that Suresh Gopi’s characters were dubbed by an amazing dubbing artist in Telugu just like Allu Arjun's voice found the perfect match in Jis. It was Kannada – Telugu actor Sai Kumar who had dubbed for Suresh Gopi in the Telugu versions of his movies. Besides Rajnikant and Kamal Haasan, Suresh Gopi too had entered the race in the Telugu dubbed market. Hassan recalls that distributors vied to get the rights of the Suresh Gopi's films.

"It was big news at that time when the Tamil and Telugu rights of the movie Thakshashila were sold even before its shooting began. The movie Kashmiram was a big hit under the title New Delhi. Similarly, Highway too was a blockbuster. It had created a massive hype in Andhra even before it hit the theatres. After the success of Highway, many older Malayalam movies in which Suresh appeared in supporting roles too were marketed in the Tamil and the Telugu industries. An actor from Kerala had risen as one of the 5 actors (Kamal Haasan, Rajnikant, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, and Suresh Gopi) whose movies had a pan South Indian appeal in the 1990s. Suresh Gopi rightly earned the position of a complete south superstar. His stardom has found multiple markets for his films. These movies had the ability to be sold in any markets," explains Hassan.

Movie Yuvathurki (Delhi Diary in Telugu), produced by Amitab Bachchan’s ABCL was Suresh Gopi's biggest movie that came out in the action genre. It created a buzz as the mega action thriller in which lady superstar Vijayasanthi shared screen space with Supreme Star Suresh Gopi. Hassan calls this movie one of the finest creations of veteran filmmaker Bhadran. This movie created a milestone by releasing simultaneously in Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi. The actor repeated his astounding success in Telugu and Tamil film industries with Delhi Diary.

"I have heard that he was offered lots of projects in Tamil and Telugu during those days. Movies like Rajaputhran and Mahatma too became successes. In 1996, his three big-budget movies were simultaneously released in three or four languages.

However, the Telugu/Tamil version of Lelam (Royal Challengu/Lelam) was a box office dud. But his next movies Pathram (Journalist), FIR, and Nariman (Senapathi and Farz ki Pukar) were hits. It was when Suresh Gopi was establishing his stardom that a temporary ban on dubbed movies was imposed in the Telugu industry due to some problems in the cinema organizations. It was around this time that he took a break from the Malayalam cinema as well. Later, in 2005, he made a royal comeback with Bhatratchandran IPS. Suresh Gopi had visited Hyderabad to promote this movie. Tiger (Police Samrajyam) was another hit. Suresh Gopi was the only Malayali actor who enjoyed an amazing market for his dubbed movies. Had filmmakers tried to explore his real potential, then a small industry like Malayalam cinema could have conquered many significant milestones," says Khader Hassar.

Hassan observes that action – masala movies had always enjoyed a favorable market in South India. He says that Suresh Gopi's universal appeal, his power-packed performances in mass action movies, his excellent screen presence, and dialogue delivery were the factors that made him a favorite in the South Indian movie market. Hassan adds that Suresh Gopi didn't require a camera gimmick or a special sequence in the script to shine in the mass scenes. "He possessed an amazing talent to portray the 'mass' just with a glance, or even a stylish stride or pose.

Suresh Gopi charmed the Telugu audience with his spectacular screen presence and dialogue delivery that wasn’t seen in other Telugu actors during that time. The Malayali audience would understand the impact of his performance only if we watch a few of his dubbed movies. By winning the national award for best actor for the movie Kaliyattam Suresh Gopi proved that he is more than his mass avatar," wrote Hassan.

"Suresh Gopi is a talented singer and presenter as well. Moreover, he is an amazing human being. He is a lover of humanity who doesn't have any duplicity in his mind. He would definitely help a person in need irrespective of his/her religion or political ideologies. I am grateful to him for personally calling my doctor at Sree Chithra to enquire about my condition, despite being busy in Delhi. Through Varana Avashyamundu he has made a comeback like a phoenix. I wish a very happy birthday to Suresh Gopi who had returned to his regal throne in Malayalam cinema. I wish that all your future films become big hits in the box office," Hassan concludes his Facebook post.

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