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Pandari Bai dead

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI Jan. 29. Veteran character actress of yesteryears, Pandari Bai, who has played memorable roles in several films in all the south Indian languages, died here today. She was 74. Ailing for some time, she was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai over a month ago for kidney problems.

Hailing from the north Kanara region of Karnataka, the actress first made an appearance in the Tamil screen in 1949 (in the film `Vaazhkai').

In Parasakti (1952), which launched the career of the legendary `Sivaji' Ganesan, she played the heroine.

From then on, she acted in over 1,500 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and even Hindi, initially as heroine and later in character roles. From the Sixties, through to the Nineties, she played elderly roles and starred with almost all leading heroes and heroines, and won critical acclaim, especially for playing the role of mother and espousing family values. She won several awards, including the Tamil Nadu Government's Kalaimamani award. About eight years ago, she was involved in an accident near Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, and from then she reduced her film appearances.

When the kidney ailment set in, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, met her at the hospital and offered to provide her financial assistance through the Anna Trust to meet the medical expenses.

Expressing grief at the death of Pandari Bai, Ms. Jayalalithaa conveyed her condolences to the actress' family. On the Chief Minister's behalf, the Information Minister, K.K. Balasubramanain, laid a wreath.

Leading lights of the south Indian film industry also paid tributes to the actress, after the body was brought to her residence. The cremation took place in the evening.

Our Special Correspondent in Bangalore writes:

The Karnataka Chief Minister, S. M. Krishna, expressing grief over the death of Pandari Bai. said, she had enthralled people as a leading actress in all south Indian language films. She had carved a niche for herself while playing the role of supporting actress, Mr. Krishna said, adding that, with her death the film world had lost an innate actress.She had left a void in the film industry, he said.

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