Special Correspondent

The actor was cremated with State honours; Achuthanandan condoles her death

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: People from all walks of life thronged the Victoria Jubilee Town Hall here on Friday to pay homage to noted actor Srividya who passed away at a private hospital in the city on Thursday evening. A cross-section of society comprising Ministers, politicians, those associated with the entertainment industry, housewives and students, were present. The crowds lined up the hall well before the body was brought there at 10.45 a.m.

Noted director Sreekumaran Thampi, who had done some of the best films and television serials with Srividya, and K.B. Ganesh Kumar, MLA, were among those who accompanied the body from her residence. Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan; Congress leaders M.M. Hassan and G. Karthikeyan; Kerala Congress (B) chairman R. Balakrishna Pillai; were among those who paid their last respects.

The former Chief Minister and Congress Working Committee member A.K. Antony condoled the death of Srividya.

Mrs. Elizabeth Antony placed a wreath on behalf of Mr. Antony, who is away in Delhi.

Veteran actor Madhu who co-starred with Srividya in a number of films was among the prominent personalities present at the hall.

K.K. Rajiv, who directed the popular television serials, `Venal Mazha,' `Swapnam' and `Avicharitham,' reminisced his association with Srividya. "She was an uncompromising professional who strived for perfection. Her commitment to work was something the youngsters should emulate," Rajiv said. `Avicharitham' won a number of awards, including the State television award for the best female actor.

Poet Balachandran Chullikad, who, of late, took to acting, traced his association with Srividya back to 1986 when he was a student at Maharaja's College, Ernakulam. "The passion for literature and music cemented our camaraderie. I got acquainted with her on the sets of the late J.C. Kuttikadu and once I took to acting, I got a chance to work with her in television serials too," he said.

Balachandra Menon said their love for music cemented their friendship. "She liked the song `Ragangale... ' in my film Tharattu and we used to sing the song on the sets of the film. She had expressed a desire to sing a duet with me and the song Aana koduthalum... ' in Oru Paingili Katha was a hit," Menon said.

Her last public appearance was at the award night organised by the Kerala Film Critics Association at Vithura on April 16.

"Braving illness, she came to receive the `Chalachitra Prathibha Puraskaram' instituted by the association and made a highly philosophic speech," secretary Mannarakayam Baby said.

When the body was taken to the cremation ground of the Karamana Grama Samudayam around 12.45 p.m., a huge crowd was waiting outside braving the heavy rain. The body was cremated with State honours.