Actor-Politician Suresh Gopi
Actor-Politician Suresh Gopi Image Credit: Vijith Pulikkal/Gulf News

Malayalam superstar Suresh Gopi’s role change from cinema to politics has been as dramatic as the larger-than-life characters he often portrayed in reel life.

A man with political ambitions, India’s top award-winning actor vacillated from Communist Party of India CPI(M) to Indian National Congress, finally ending up with Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP).

Born in 1959 in the central Kerala district of Alappuzha, Suresh Gopi ventured into cinema and politics at a very early stage in his life, much earlier though in film as a child artist in Odayil Ninnu (1965).

His film distributor father could have been an influence.

However, his affiliation to Students' Federation of India, the youth wing of CPI(M), during his college days and later as a recognized Malayalam actor campaigning for the Left Democratic Front and for the rival United Democratic Front depict the dithering nature of the actor-politician. 

A string of Malayalam movies that catapulted him to fame and stardom starting in the 1990s lambasted politics, politicians, and corruption. Ironically, the same actor, finally had to join politics. He took the rather safe Rajya Sabha (upper house of the Indian parliament) route to become an MP, and officially joined the BJP in 2016.

Suresh Gopi as the popular host of Ningalkkum Aakaam Koddeshwarn, a Malayalam version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

The popular image of Suresh Gopi, however, failed to convert enough votes for him in the 2019 parliamentary elections from Thrissur constituency. His bombastic dialogues and filmi image crumbled at the ballot box and he ended up at the fag end of the poll race.

Suresh Gopi is now back at the hustings, this time, according to his own words, on the orders of the party he respects: BJP.

The actor turned politician is vying for state legislative seat from Thrissur in the upcoming state election on April 6, 2021. As a precursor, he has become more active on social media platforms, including changing his Twitter account from private to public.

A very strong triangular fight is on the cards in the constituency with Indian National Congress’s Padmaja Venugopal and P Balachandran of CPI forming the other two top contenders. Congress has a slight advantage in the constituency as proven in the parliamentary elections won by TN Prathapan. Can the mass hero Suresh Gopi avenge the defeat and bag Thrissur on the second coming? Only time will tell.

Constituency: Thrissur

Main Rivals

Padmaja Venugopal (Indian National Congress) UDF

P Balachandran (Communist Party of India) LDF