Noted South Indian film actor Kalabhavan Mani, known for his award-winning performance in Vasantiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njanum (1999), on Sunday passed away at a private hospital here, sources said.
Mani, 45, also a singer, was undergoing treatment for liver and kidney diseases at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.
Mani, who was admitted to the hospital two days ago, passed away at 7.15 pm, the sources said.
Mani, born on January 1, 1971, was an auto rickshaw driver when he started his career as a mimicry artiste at the famous Kalabhavan, a centre for learning performing arts, here two decades ago.
Entering the Malayalam film industry as a comedian, Mani later became an active artiste in South Indian films, including Tamil and Malayalam, especially essaying villain roles.
Mani, who began his acting career in the Siby Malayil directed Malayalam film Aksharam (1995) and proved his ability as a serious actor in Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum (1999), in which he played a blind street singer.
His performance in the latter won special accolades from both national and state film award juries.
The Malayalam film industry expressed shock over the actor's untimely demise.
"It is an irreparable lose for us," noted film director Kamal said.
Mani is survived by his wife and daughter.