Third star departs, leaves Kollywood in tears
By Rajagopalan Venkataraman | ENS | Published: 24th July 2013 10:43 AM |
Manjula, best remembered for acting alongside late chief minister M G Ramachandran in blockbuster flicks like Rickshawkaran and Ulagam Sutrum Valiban, passed away at 11.40 am on Tuesday, a day after she fell from bed and injured herself critically. She was 59.
Her rather sudden demise shocked Kollywood, more so because it came shortly after the death of Vaali and Manivannan. Manjula’s husband Vijayakumar, a noted actor himself, was by her side at Sri Ramachandra University in Porur when the end came.
Weakened by jaundice, doctors at SRU said she sustained a critical injury to her abdomen after she fell from her bed at her residence in Porur on Monday, causing a blood clot. Her body couldn’t cope with the strain. “We promptly hospitalised her, but she could not survive. She passed away this morning,” a teary-eyed Vijayakumar told Express.
A yesteryear star, who reigned in the 70s, she had acted in over 100 movies in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, for over a decade, sharing the screen with Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, A Nageswara Rao, N T Rama Rao, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. Her romance with Vijayakumar after they acted in Unnidam Mayanguhiren, provided enough fodder for the rumour mills, until they married. They later had three daughters.
Top technicians and co-actors paid their last respects, after the body arrived at her house 1.30 pm. They included Rajinikanth, Goundamani, Sarathkumar, Radha Ravi, Santhana Bharathi, danseuse Ramya Krishnan, actor-couple Sneha and Prasanna and composer Devi Sri Prasad. Veteran actor Manorama burst into tears and was inconsolable.
Younger actors like Trisha and Jayam Ravi tearfully recounted how much “Manjula aunty” had inspired them, on the sets and off, though they had scarcely acted with her — all their association has been with Vijayakumar, who is something of a regular in most big-budget Tamil flicks. Her last rites will be performed on Wednesday.
Though Khushboo has a mother-in-law of her own, the only person who comes to her mind when you say maamiyaar (mother-in-law) is Manjula. It has very little to do with the fact that Manjula played Khushboo’s warring mother-in-law in a TV soap, Marumagal. “She was the most loving mother-in-law,” said Khushboo, who like Manjula made the shift from films to serials to spend more time with her family.
Their bond was much more than their fleeting conversations on the sets. “She was instrumental in getting me married and I owe my happiness to her,” tweeted Khushboo. Khushboo married filmmaker Sundar C and has been helping him with production and acting ever since. Manjula and her family were very close to Sundar, as even now Khushboo fondly referred to Manjula as Sundar’s “GF”.
Their relationship was such that Khushboo was one of the few people who visited her at the hospital when her body began to fail. “I was with her as she breathed her last and I was holding her hand. I will remember her last touch,” she said.