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Actor Pandu Dies of Covid-19 in Chennai

Photo source: screenshot of the film 'Padikkadavan'

Pandu, the comic actor who was last seen in the Tamil thriller film Indha Nilai Maarum, died of Covid-19 related complications at a private hospital in Chennai on Thursday.

He was 74.

After testing positive for the virus, Pandu and his wife Kumudha had been undergoing treatment at the hospital. Kumudha is still undergoing treatment at the ICU.

The veteran comedian, who had acted in over 150 Tamil films, was born on February 19, 1947, and attended the Government College of Arts and Crafts. He made his acting debut in the 1971 film Maanavan helmed by MA Thirumugam. He went on to act with leading actors like Ajith, Sarath Kumar, Karthik, Prabhu, Dhanush.

The late comedian had designed the flag of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the former ruling government of Tamil Nadu.

Besides acting, Pandu had been running the company, Capital Letters, which designed name plates for film personalities’ residences and offices.

Actor-producer Thiagarajan, who has produced Mannava (1997), and Jai (2004), starring his son, Prashanth, and Pandu, told Silverscreen India, “He had acted about seven films with Prashanth, like Good Luck, Jodi, Poomagal Oorvalam and he was a very good friend. He used to design name boards for our company too. His life was infused with humour and he had an infectious smile. When I produced Jai, I involved him in the project and roped him in for a good character role. His demise is a great loss for the industry. The fact that it his death comes after the death of Vivekh, another comedian, is a double blow. Pandu was a nice man.”

Reminiscing his days with Pandu, actor-filmmaker Gaurav Narayanan, told Silverscreen India, “He was a family friend and was very dear to me. He appeared in the first shot/frame of my directorial debut, Thoonga Nagaram, and hence marked my initiation into the world of cinema. He had even gifted me a name plate, carved in golden lettering, and designed by him, during my housewarming ceremony.”

Pandu collaborated with Gaurav in all three of his directorial ventures- Thoonga Nagaram (2011), Sigaram Thodu (2014), and Ippadai Vellum (2017).

Gaurav said that he was introduced to Pandu when he was assisting filmmaker KS Ravikumar. “I got to know him when was working with KS Ravikumar sir since Pandu sir was also close to him [Ravikumar]. But soon, we grew close and he became like a brother to me. It is a great loss to the film industry and personally as well. I had even talked with him about our next collaboration enthusiastically. It seems like a grim time for the Tamil industry after the recent demises of many actors like Vivekh anna, KV [Anand] sir, and now Pandu sir. These people have led us forward with their experiences.”

Members of the film fraternity mourned the demise of the actor, on social media.

Pandu’s final rites will be held in the Besant Nagar Crematorium on Thursday.

He is survived by his wife and three sons, Prabhu, Panchu, and Pintu.

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