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Actor R.S. Manohar dead

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R.S. Manohar. Photo: V. Ganesan
R.S. Manohar. Photo: V. Ganesan

S.R. Ashok Kumar

The thespian took Tamil theatre to a higher plane

CHENNAI: Veteran film actor and doyen of Tamil stage, R.S. Manohar, died here on Tuesday. He was 80. Family sources said he was hospitalised for cardiac problems on December 22 and was ailing since then.

Manohar acted in over 200 films and is survived by his wife Sita Lakshmi Manohar.

Ramasamy Subramania Manohar was born on June 29, 1925 at Namakkal. His real name was Lakshmi Narashiman. He got the name Manohar after playing the lead role in the play 'Manohara' during school days.

While in college, Manohar used to perform stage plays. After graduation, he joined films. His first effort was 'Rajamabal,' produced by Aruna Films. His early memorable roles were in films such as 'Vannakkili,' 'Kaidhi Kannayiram,' 'Vallavanukku Vallavan,' 'Vallavan Oruvan' and 'Iru Vallavargal.'

But Manohar will always be remembered for the 'bad guy' roles, especially while facing off with M.G. Ramachandran in films such as 'Ayirathil Oruvan,' 'Ulagam Suttrum Valliban,' 'Pallandu Vazhga,' 'Adimai Penn,' 'Kaavalkaaran' and 'Idayakkani.'

Manohar will also be remembered for his immense contribution to the stage. After Nawab Rajamanikkam, it was Manohar who took theatre to a higher plane. Most of the 31 plays in which he acted - these were staged 7,950 times - were adaptations or interpretations of historical incidents or mythological stories.

Famous among Manohar's plays were 'Ilangeswaran,' 'Chanakkiya Sabadam,' 'Soorapadman,' 'Sisupalan,' 'Indrajith,' 'Sukrachariyar,' 'Naragasooran' and 'Thirunavukkarasar.'

He was a pioneer in introducing 'dramascope' with stereophonic sound system, split second transformation of scenes and pyrotechniques to represent battle scenes.

He received many awards for his contribution to drama and cinema, including a 'Nadaka Kavalar' award from MGR in 1970.

Jayalalithaa's condolence

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa described Manohar's death as a great loss to the film world and greater loss to the theatre.

Expressing her condolences to the bereaved family, she said Manohar was a highly talented actor, who could don any role. He made significant contribution to the stage art by creating magnificent plays based on epics and historical themes.

People from all walks of life, especially from the film industry, came to Manohar's house at Abiramapuram, to pay their last respects. These included Vijayakanth, Radha Ravi, Kamal Haasan, Sivakumar, Y.Gee. Mahendra, Karthik, Manorama and V.S. Ragavan.

On behalf of the Government, Information Minister K.P. Anbalagan paid his respects. TNCC president, G.K. Vasan, placed a wreath.

The last rites will be performed on Wednesday morning.

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