CUTTACK: Hemant Das, the thespian of Oriya cinema, died here today following a prolonged illness. He was 76 and was being shifted to the SCB Medical College and Hospital here from his Khamaranga village near Banki town when he breathed his last. His wife and only son had predeceased him.
One of the most accomplished actors of both mainstream and art cinema in the State, Hemant Das had acted in over 50 films and five mega serials. He had been feted with prestigious awards and honours during his career. He had retreated to his village after the tragedy of losing his wife and son and suffering from multiple ailments since.
Das started his career with the 1956 production ‘Bhai Bhai’ and went on to stir the emotions of generations with his strong acting and portrayals of tragic characters. Among his major successes were ‘Sesha Shrabana’, ‘Balidan’, ‘Jajabara’, ‘Danda Balunga’, ‘Swapna Sagara’, ‘Maa O Mamata’, ‘Hisab Nikash’, ‘Hakim Babu’, ‘Sita Rati’, ‘Kichi Smruti Kichi Anubhuti’, ‘Niraba Jhada’, ‘Sapana Banika’ and ‘Mamatara Dori’. He had also acted in the national award winning Hindi movie ‘Sodh’.
He was accorded with the State Film Award for Best Actor for the films ‘Maa O Mamata’ and ‘Danda Balunga’. In 1991, he was conferred with the Jayadev Award. He had also been accorded with the Guru Kelu Charan Award and honoured by the Orissa Cine Artistes Association for his lifetime contribution to Oriya cinema.
Das also worked with AIR and retired as a staff artiste.
His death plunged the film fraternity and fans into mourning with many rushing to his village to pay their last respects. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed his grief on the death of the veteran actor. In his condolence message, Patnaik said that Das’ death has created a vacuum in the field of not only Oriya cinema but the cultural milieu of the State on the whole. Tourism and Culture Minister Debi Prasad Mishra has also mourned his death.