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Ramayan actor Chandrashekhar dies at 97

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The legendary performer's last rites were carried out at the Pawan Hans crematorium in Juhu, Mumbai, in the evening.

Our Correspondent

Veteran film and television actor Chandrashekhar died early today at his Mumbai residence. He was 97.

The artiste's son, Prof Ashok Chandra Shekhar, told the Press Trust of India news agency, "He passed away in his sleep in the presence of family... the way he wanted. He had no health issues, it was just his age. He lived a good life."

The actor's last rites were scheduled to be carried out at the Pawan Hans crematorium in Juhu in the evening.

In an interview with Cinestaan in 2018, actor Shakti Arora, Chandrashekhar's grandson, had said his grandfather was keeping poor health. "His memory is weak. Right now he is bedridden. Sometimes he remembers me. Sometimes he just won’t remember," he had said.

Chandrashekhar got his big break in V Shantaram's production Surang (1953). But before he made his debut as a leading man, he was an assistant director on Shantaram's iconic film Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946).

Following his debut, the actor went on to star in hits such as Basant Bahar (1956), Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) and Street Singer (1966), the last of which he also directed. He also produced and starred in the musical Cha Cha Cha (1964) alongside Helen.

Later, the actor assisted writer-director Gulzar and appeared in films of his such as Aandhi (1975) and Mausam (1975). In the second half of his career, he opted to play memorable supporting roles in films such as Sabse Bada Rupaiya (1976), Sajan Bina Suhagan (1978), The Burning Train (1980) and Nikaah (1982).

One of his more memorable roles was that of king Dasharatha's prime minister, Arya Sumantra, in Ramanand Sagar's iconic television series Ramayan (1987).

The actor's demise was mourned by his Ramayan co-star Arun Govil. 

The veteran actor was also president of the Cine and TV Artistes' Association (CINTAA) from 1985 to 1988. The organization took to Twitter to remember its former president.