Santha Devi, 83, veteran film and theatre actor, passed away in a hospital here on Saturday evening. She had been undergoing treatment for various age-related ailments.
She is a winner of several awards, including the national honour for the best supporting actress for her performance in Yamanam and the lifetime achievement award of the Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi.
Smarakam, a drama directed by Vasu Pradeep, was her first play. She made her debut in cinema 53 years ago in Minnaminungu, directed by Ramu Karyat. She had entered the silver screen on inspiration by her husband, Abdul Khader.
She had handled memorable roles in television serials, such as Manasi and Minnukettu.
She was among the leading woman actors in Kerala who took the glory of theatre art to its zenith surmounting social stigma.
Suresh Babu and the late Sathyajith are her children.
The body will be kept at the Town Hall between 11.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday for the public to pay homage. The funeral will be held with full State honours at the Mavoor Road crematorium at 2 p.m.
Special Correspondent writes from Thiruvananthapuram:
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan described Santha Devi as an actor with a novel talent and said her contributions to the stage and cinema would be remembered.
Culture Minister M.A. Baby said Santha Devi had come on the scene at a time when women kept away from the stage and screen and had proved her acting genius by donning powerful roles.
Forest Minister Benoy Viswom and Law Minister M. Vijayakumar also mourned Santha Devi. Actor and Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi chairman Mukesh said Santha Devi's was a life dedicated to the stage.