Forty-five year old actor Kalabhavan Mani passed away in a Kochi hospital on Sunday. The versatile actor had been unwell for a few days and was admitted to a hospital in Kochi.
Though he had been admitted to the hospital, it was only on Sunday afternoon that news emerged that he was in a serious condition and on a ventilator. He was undergoing treatment for a liver-related illness, according to the hospital.
At 7.15 pm the hospital confirmed the actor's death.
Kalabhavan Mani, born January 1, 1971, was an actor and singer, and started out in the Malayalam film industry. Mani, who was previously an auto driver, was a true outsider who broke all conventions to chart a successful career for himself. While he brought much versatility to his many roles, and could as easily inhabit the outrageously funny role as the seriously underplayed, as befits a mimicry artist and folk singer, his voice was the core of his talent.
His death has come as a huge shock to the Malayalam film industry that is already mourning the deaths of many artistes including actor Kalpana and ONV Kurup. Many in the industry, including Mani's close friends, like Jayaram, told the media that they were unaware that his health had deteriorated. Just a few days ago, there were even reports that the CPI(M) in Kerala could be roping Mani in to campaign for them in the upcoming elections.
He won the National Film Award in 2000 and Kerala state film award in 1999. He started out as a mimicry artist at the famous art centre Kalabhavan, and gained popularity with the same in films too. Mani, who began his acting career in the Siby Malayil directed Malayalam film "Aksharam" and proved his ability as serious actor in "Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum", where he played a blind street singer.
He then moved on to the Tamil and Telugu cinema too, and saw immense success in playing negative roles. In the Tamil film industry, he grabbed everyone’s attention as the super-villain in the movie Gemini, which featured Vikram in the lead.