- Part of the Karala People's Arts Club, a left-wing theatrical movement, in the 1950s and 1960s.
- Made his acting debut in the Malayalam movie Pariyar (1973).
- Won the Best Supporting Actor National Film Award for his performance in Hrithubhedam (1986). It was his first of three National Film Awards.
- In 2005 he was awarded the Filmfare Awards South Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Was honoured with the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award, in 2009.