BHUBANESWAR: YESTERYEAR Odia actress Manimala Devi passed away after prolonged illness here on Thursday. She was 86. Manimala was admitted to a City-based private hospital a week back. As her condition deteriorated, she was put on ventilator support on Wednesday. She acted in 28 Odia films of which 14 bagged the National Film Awards including her debut film ‘Sri Loknath’ in 1960. The State Government had felicitated her with the prestigious Jayadev award for 2000. Born on June 19, 1931 at Balibishi village of Kendrapara district, Manimala had joined Annapurna Theatre at the tender age of eight. She began her career as a child artiste in Annapurna Group B and went on to perform in at least 100 plays.
As a leading actress, she featured in films like ‘Laxmi’, ‘Bhai Bhauja’, ‘Kaa’, ‘Malajanha’, ‘Abhinetri’ and ‘Suryamukhi’, which also bagged a number of awards. She also acted in Nirad Mohapatra’s ‘Maya Miriga’ which bagged the Rashtrapati Award as the second best film in 1983. Manimala also acted in director Manmohan Mohapatra’s films such as ‘Bhinna Samaya’, ‘Andha Diganta’ and ‘Klanta Aparanha’.Manimala was trained as a singer and classical dancer under the tutelage of Gurus Balakrushna Das, Dhiren Das and Kabichandra Kalicharan Patnaik. She was selected as an accredited singer for Akashvani Kendra.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Prasad Harichandan and BJP State president Basant Panda condoled her death. A host of actors and actresses from Odia film industry visited her residence here to pay their last respects. The last rites were performed in Swargadwara in Puri.