Malayalam actor Murali passes away

President A P J Abdul Kalam presenting the Best Actor Award to Murali for his role in 'Naythukaran' (2001) at the 49th National Film Awards function in 2003.
President A P J Abdul Kalam presenting the Best Actor Award to Murali for his role in 'Naythukaran' (2001) at the 49th National Film Awards function in 2003.
Well-known Malayalam film actor Murali, who had won the National Award for Best Actor in 2002 for "Neythukaran", died at a hospital here tonight, sources said.

He was 55. He is survived by his wife and a daughter. The funeral will be held tomorrow, the sources said.

Murali, who was said to be suffering from diabetes for a long time, had been admitted to the hospital yesterday for treatment of chest congestion. The end came around 8.20 pm tonight following a cardiac arrest, they said.

Murali was also the chairman of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi.

The actor, who was known for his gripping portrayals of lead and character roles, had acted in more than 200 films in Malayalam and Tamil.

In 1999, he contested the Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate supported by the Left Democratic Front from the Alapuzha constituency in Kerala, but lost to V M Sudheeran of the Congress.

Murali was born on May 25, 1954, as the eldest child of P Krishna Pillai and K Devaki Amma at Kudavattoor in Kerala's Kollam district. He did his schooling from the Kudavattoor Lower Primary School and the Thrikannamangalam S K V High School. He went on to complete his degree in Law from the Thiruvananthapuram Law Academy. He worked for some time in the Kerala government and in the Kerala University's administration department. As a student, he was an active member of the Students Federation of India.

Murali began his acting career with Njattadi, directed by Gopi, which never got released. Panchagni, directed by Hariharan, was his first release, though he had around the same time acted in Chidambaram by Aravindan and Meenamasathile Sooryan by Lenin Rajendran.

Aadharan, directed by George Kittu, was the first film with him in the lead. Some of his other notable films include Nee Ethra Dhanya, Dhanam, The King, Achan Kombathu Amma Varambathu and Swarnam.

Murali got his first Kerala State Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for Amaram, directed by Bharatan. He later won the Best Actor for Aadharam and for Neythukaran, directed by Priyanandan, a role for which he also got the National Award.

Murali is the second well-known Malayalam actor to pass away in the last ten days. On July 29, the veteran stage and film actor Rajan P Dev, who was popular for his character roles, died in Kochi after a brief illness.

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