Raghu, the Malayalam actor who rose to fame with his debut film Mela (1980), died in Kochi on Tuesday morning. He was 60.
Born as Puthanveli Sasidharan, the actor was popularly known as Mela Raghu.
According to a report by Manorama News, On April 16, Raghu suffered a stroke and collapsed at his house in Cherthala. He was first rushed to the Cherthala Taluk hospital and later shifted to a private hospital in Kochi. The actor had been unconscious from April 19 and his health condition deteriorated in the following days.
According to a report by Onmanorama, the actor’s relatives said that his family had spent a hefty sum for his treatment. They said that since his family was not financially well off, they faced a hard time paying the hospital bills when Raghu was admitted to the intensive care unit in the private hospital.
Raghu, who suffered from dwarfism, garnered appreciation for essaying the protagonist role of a circus clown named Govindan Kutty in Mela. The film, directed by KG George, also stars Mammootty, Anjali Naidu and Sreenivasan in pivotal roles. Raghu had acted in more than 35 films, including the Tamil film Apoorva Sagodharargal starring Kamal Haasan.
Malayalam actor Ajay Kumar, popularly known as Guinness Parku and who also suffered from dwarfism, took to social media to mourn Mela Raghu’s death. Parku wrote in a post, “The first short lead actor I ever saw. The actor who got lucky to play the lead in his first movie ‘Mela’. Tributes to Mela Raghu Chettan.”
Actors Mammootty, Mohanlal, Sidhique, Prithviraj, Manju Warrier, Aju Varghese also mourned the loss of the veteran actor.
— Prithviraj Sukumaran (@PrithviOfficial) May 4, 2021
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ഞാൻ കണ്ട ആദ്യ ഉയരം കുറഞ്ഞ നായക നടൻ…..
മേള എന്ന ആദ്യ ചിത്രത്തിലൂടെ നായകനാകാൻ ഭാഗ്യം കിട്ടിയ താരം….
— Guinnespakru (@guinnespakru) May 4, 2021
The actor was last seen in Mohanlal-starrer Drishyam 2 which released on Amazon Prime Video in February. In the film, Raghu played the role of a waiter named Raghu at a tea shop that is frequently visited by Georgekutty (Mohanlal) and other characters in the film.
Raghu is survived by his wife Shyamala and daughter Shilpa.