Bhubaneswar: Eminent Odia actor Minaketan Das passed away following prolonged illness at his residence in Bhubaneswar last night.
He was suffering from Pancreatic Cancer and being treated at Mumbai-based Asian Cancer Institute.
The actor known for his indomitable spirit proved his mettle in the Odia cine industry as the 'bad man' and etched a mark for all times to come.
A pall of gloom descended on the film and theatre industry as soon as the news of his death came.
"He was very cordial to everyone in the industry. He has ruled the hearts of cine lovers in Odisha for decades with his tremendous acting skill. He was known for his portrayal of negative characters in theatre, movie and television screen. I lost a personal friend today", veteran actor and producer Pradyumna Lenka said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan condoled the death of Minaketan.
Saddened to learn of the demise of actor Minaketan Das. It is a great loss for Odia film industry. My thoughts & prayers with his family
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) July 1, 2017
Heartfelt condolences to friends & family of Ollywood 'bad man' Minaketan Das an actor who won many hearts but lost his fight against cancer
— Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) July 1, 2017
As soon as the news spread, people from film fraternity, intellectuals, film lovers and fans rushed to his house to pay last respects. Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Panda, actor-turned-politician Prashant Nanda and others paid floral tributes to the departed soul.
His demise also left many theatre and Jatra artists teary-eyed. "I am speechless with the sad news of Mina Bhai's death. I considered him a Guru in Jatra industry. I have acted in many of his directorial dramas. Superhit jatra 'Kaudi Khela' had given me special identity under his direction. It's irreparable loss for me", popular theatre artist Daitari Panda said.
“May God give strength and courage to his family to bear the loss. May his soul rest in peace,” an inconsolable Panda said.
Actor Sritam Das said “Minaketan was not only an actor but an institution. I had a long relationship with such a multi-talented and versatile star. People know him for his negative characters in film, but in real life he was a good human being, a soft-spoken man.”
Minaketan’s colleague in both theatre and cine industry Raimohan Parida described him as an all rounder. “He carved a niche for himself. The vacuum his death has created can never be filled. He will be missed always in the industry. Jatra ‘Allah Ho Jagannath’ was marvelous under his direction and I was a part of it,” Parida said.
“My journey started in film industry with Minaketan Bhai. I remember the first day with him when he called me and gave me a pat after watching my performance in a drama. I had a lot to learn from him. He left me mid-way,” stand-up comedian Harihar Mohapatra said.
The actor had received several state-level awards and accolades throughout his career.
Minaketan was initially admitted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar after complaining of body pain. Later, after being diagnosed with cancer, he had to be shifted to Mumbai.
Family sources said Minaketan’s body will be cremated at Swargadwar in Puri at around 3 pm.