Popular Malayalam actor and folk singer Kalabhavan Mani passed away at a hospital in Kochi on Sunday (March 6). He was 45. Mani, who started as a mimicry artist, was a popular character actor in all South Indian languages.
With over 200 films to his credit, Mani started with comedy roles but graduated to lead characters. He was also the playback singer in about 25 movies, but was more popular for his trademark folksongs.
Of late, was seen more often in Tamil films. He came to the forefront with his role in Sallapam, which incidentally was the first big hit of super star Daleep.
He won the state award for best actor in 1999 for his role in Vasantiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njanum. He lost out on winning the national award that year by a narrow margin but got the Special Jury Award.
Mani, who hailed from an economically backward family at Chalakkudy in Thrissur district, started his career as mimicry artist at Kalabhavan. He was an auto-driver in Chalakkudy before he became a full time actor.
“The actor was admitted to Amrita Hospital in Kochi yesterday. He was critical and was in the ICU. He died at 7:15 PM today,” said a hospital official.