On Monday, a year has gone by without the familiar laughter of Malayalam actor Kalabhavan Mani. It was on March 6, 2016, that the 45-year-old actor breathed his last, in a suspected case of poisoning.
A year after his death, Mani’s brother RLV Ramakrishna is on a three-day hunger strike, protesting against the delay in probing the untimely death of his elder brother. According to family members who The News Minute spoke to, Ramakrishnan is likely to continue the fast indefinitely, against the lackadaisical approach of the ruling CPI (M)-led government in effectively conducting the investigation.
The family unveiled Kalabhavan Mani's statue at Kalagriham, the art and cultural institution set up by the actor in his hometown Chalakkudy, on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters after launching the hunger strike, RLV Ramakrishnan demanded that the CBI take over the case at the earliest.
"The investigating team has made lapses in every step of the probe. They were even careless to the extent that they handled my brother's internal organs in an unhygienic manner, while taking it to the national forensic laboratory from Kakkanad laboratory. It has been proven time and again through various lab reports that my brother had been poisoned. The police cannot close the case without finding out who poisoned my brother," Ramakrishnan said.
Recently, there were reports that the investigating team is contemplating closing the case, owing to lack of evidence. Mani's family had alleged the involvement of a few of his friends in the mysterious death. Though a CBI inquiry was ordered months after the LDF came to power, the investigating agency is yet to take over the case.
Attending a function organized by Chalakkudy municipality the following day, to commemorate the first year anniversary of Mani's death, Chief Minister Pinrayi Vijayan said,
"Mani reached out to people. The people’s representatives should learn to do so, too. Mani was different from other actors who let success get into their heads. We should incorporate good aspects of his character and habits. He achieved remarkable heights due to hard work and dedication. We should never forget the old ways we travelled."
Film industry remembers the actor
Saying that Mani remains in their midst even after his death, actor Sajan Palluruthy said,
"I have attended several stage shows with him in Kerala and abroad. His demise is a loss to everyone who knew him...the people of Chalakkudy. That is exactly why people thronged his residence even days after his death."
Speaking about Mani's career in the film industry, Sajan said that Mani was extremely hardworking as he took the effort to learn different languages and acted in other-language films.
Reiterating this, artist Kalabhavan Shajohn said that people will always remember Mani.
"He is one person who has given me immense confidence and motivation. Knowingly or unknowingly, he has opened up a number of opportunities for me. I remember him every day...he will never be gone as far as I am concerned," he said.