Film-serial actor Kanakalatha passes away

Her acting career, spanning over 300 films in Malayalam and Tamil and several popular television serials, began in her younger days with drama performances

Updated - May 07, 2024 11:30 am IST

Published - May 06, 2024 10:55 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Actor Kanakalatha, known for playing supporting characters in films and television serials, passed away here on Monday. She was 63. The actor had been suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s disease over the past couple of years.

Born in Oachira in Kollam district, her acting career, spanning over 300 films in Malayalam and Tamil and several popular television serials, began in her younger days with drama performances.

With a childhood marked by poverty, the stage was one of the sources of income for her family.

Filmmaker P.A. Backer, who watched one of her performances, cast her in the lead role in his film Unarthupaattu. Though the film unfortunately did not get a theatrical release, filmmaker Lenin Rajendran, who was one of its producers, cast her in his film Chillu (1982), which became Kanakalatha’s debut film.

Though she got more roles in films, she continued to perform on stage too with various troupes, including the Kalidasa Kalakendram.

When Doordarshan began telecasting television serials in the 1980s, she was one of the earliest to make the shift to television with a lead role in Oru Poo Viriyunnu. Soon, Kanakalatha became a familiar face in these thirteen episode-serials, at a time when these were the staple diet in almost every other household in Kerala in the pre-cable television era.

She later became a part of several popular mega serials in the private television channels that mushroomed in the 1990s.

In films, she continued to do supporting character roles, most often as the sister or mother of the principal characters. Some of her notable films include Kireedam, Kauravar, Harikrishnans, Bandhukkal Sathrukkal, Chenkol, Spadikam, Aadyathe Kanmani and Oru Yathramozhi.

Though she acted in a few films in the 2010s, she slowly faded out of cinema and television in recent years due to illnesses. Minister for Cultural Affairs Saji Cherian condoled her passing.

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