Actor Kanthimathi, an artist known for her powerful performances in Tamil films, passed away here on Friday after a prolonged illness. She was 65.

Irrespective of the character she portrayed, Kanthimathi's performance bore a stamp of authenticity. Her performance in director Bharathiraja's ‘Padhinaru Vayathinile', as Mayil's (actor Sreedevi's role) mother is a classic example of how she could essay any role in a convincing manner, paying particular attention to dialogue delivery and body language.

Director Bharathiraja attributes her skill to her theatre background and devotion to acting. “She has performed as a child artist and even as a heroine in a couple of films, but somehow was not very active after that… at the time I was writing ‘Padhinaru Vayathinile', I was looking for someone who could speak the ‘vattara vazhakku' (local dialect) well, and I could not think of anyone else,” he says.

A native of Manamadurai, she started acting when she was 11 and has acted in nearly 500 films. Her role in films such as ‘Mann Vasanai', ‘Karagattakkaran', ‘Muthu' won acclaim. She received the Kalaimamani Award from the State government.