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End of an era: Nagesh passes away

Saturday, January 31, 2009 • Tamil Comments

Nagesh, the man who gave millions a million laughs through hundreds of films passed away this morning (January 31 2009) in Chennai after suffering from a prolonged illness.

According to reports, Nagesh fell down a couple of months ago and injured his leg severely. He had been in his residence ever since. Another unfortunate event happened yesterday when he tripped and fell inside his bathroom. The actor was taken to a private hospital and was discharged the same day after treatment.

At around 11 am this morning Nagesh passed away.

Top actors including Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Sarathkumar, Vivek and many more rushed to Nagesh’s residence on hearing the sad news.

Gunddu Rao popularly known to us as Nagesh entertained cinema audiences for over five decades. The name Nagesh was synonymous with comedy for millions of avid Tamil Cinema audiences for generations.

With the demise of one of the most loved onscreen personalities this sure is an end of an era – an era that witnessed cinema rising over all other forms of entertainment.

Though hundreds of his performances have been hailed, some performances such as his portrayal of a struggling poet in the film 'Thiruvilayadal' along with thespian Sivaji Ganesan, his brilliance in the film 'Server Sundaram' etc will always be remembered for a very long time.

Gunddu Rao who’d later christen himself as Nagesh, was born to Kannada speaking Brahmin Madhwa parents. Legend has it that he ran away from home after telling his folks that he would be back only as an established ‘big guy’. Something that was considered childish then.

In Chennai, he reportedly stayed in a 'single room' in West Mambalam along with with lyricist Vaali and veteran actor Srikanth. Though Nagesh found himself a job in the railways, he was never satisfied with it and hence was on the look out for a move over. The young thin man was enamored by stage plays and wanted to become an actor. His first association with acting was on the stage playing all kinds of roles.

It was producer Balaji who spotted him and gave him his first break in films.

He had acted in many films with MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. His professional connection with Kamal Hassan is of great relevance. He was one of the four bad guys in 'Apoorva Sagodharargal' (1989), where Kamal played three characters. In Michael Madana Kama Rajan (1990), where Kamal played four characters, Nagesh showed his funny side in his impeccable style.

Nagesh is survived by three sons (Rajesh Babu, Ramesh Babu, Anand Babu) and five grandchildren.

The brilliance and magic of Nagesh on screen will live on in Tamil Cinema forever. May his soul rest in peace.

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