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S A Ashokan
Published on Sep 3 2011

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S A Ashokan was born in Tiruchi.  As a young lad he was interested in stage plays and also participated in oratorical and writing competitions.  He completed his degree at St.  Josephs College Trichy and his original name was Antony.  However, Director T R Ramanna changed his name to Asokan.  After that he was popularly referred to as Asokan by one and all.

Although he acted in a minor role in the film Avvaiyar, S A Ashokan made his debut in the film “Kappalottiya Thamizhan” in 1961, portraying the role of Collector Ash.  He went on to act in several other films as hero.  These films were moderate hits.  He was quite popular through the nineteen sixties and seventies.  He mainly acted as a villain, he essayed the role of both villain and character roles with contemporary and popular actors very often with MGR in many of the hits of the times.  With a high pitched voice and sustained dialogue delivery he created a strong impact on the big screen.  He sometimes brought in an almost comic element to villainy which was as endearing as it was menacing thus bringing in a style of his own.

In Kandan Karunai (1967) he played the role of Soorapadman.  He played an intriguing character role in the movie Veera Thirumagan a big hit from the AVM studios.  In 1965 his role as a helpless traveller who gets conned in the movie Vallavanukku Vallavan is also a memorable performance.  He enacted the role of Duryodhana in two movies entitled Karnan (1964) and Karna (1963).  In 1973, his role as Professor Bhairavan in “Ullagam Sutrum Valiban was well appreciated by the audience and is still remembered as a landmark performance.  Some of his other performances include important roles in Attukara Allamelu, Adimai Penn, Anbe Vaa, Vivasayee, Raman Thediya Seethai etc.

Ashokan also sang a popular song in the movie “Iravum Pagalum.” The lyrics of the song begin such… Iranthavanai Somanthavanum and it is quite a soulful song.  Incidentally, this movie was Jai Shankar’s first one.

Despite his villainous roles, like other screen villains he was a well loved actor and had close friends in the film fraternity.  He introduced filmmaker A C Trilokchander to AVM Studios and this break helped the filmmaker to make his mark.  He also toured different towns in Tamil Nadu with a troupe of famous artistes including his beloved friend Jai Shankar to conduct cultural programs.

S A Ashokan married Mary Gnanam (original name Saraswathi) in true film style despite opposition from her parents.  They had two sons.  On November 11, 1982 he passed away at an early age when his son Vincent was still in school.  His son Vincent has carried his father’s mantle forward by essaying a few classic roles as villain in current movies.


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“S A Ashokan”

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