Veteran Actress Kalpana Passed Away

Veteran actress Kalpana, who made audiences laugh and cry with her performances, passed away in Hyderabad on Monday. She was 51 years old.

According to initial reports Kalpana had reached in Hyderabad on Sunday afternoon for shooting a bi-lingual film (Tamil and Telugu), and was staying at a hotel in the city.

She was rushed to Apollo Hospital early on Monday morning after she was found unconscious. Doctors tried to revive her. They suspect that she died due to a heart attack, and are not yet decided on conducting a post-mortem.

Her sister Urvashi is on her way to Hyderabad and the body will be brought back to Kerala.

Actress KPAC Lalitha had told news channels that Kalpana had confided in her a few years ago that she was suffering from heart valve-related problems for which she was undergoing treatment at the Amrita Hospital in Kochi. Kalpana also recently had a liver transplant.

Veteran actor Nedumudi Venu said, "She used to treat any disease she had very lightly. She was never one of those who would speak about what ailed her. Last week, she acted with Maniyanpilla Raju and he told me that she was very active."

Actress Seema said, "We know that all of us have to die at some point of time, but this one came too early."

Her versatility was something that movie goers cherished. From her poignant role in Charlie as a sex worker with HIV/AIDS, to characters that made us laugh in movies like Poochakaaru Mani Kettum and her histrionics as UDC Kumari in Dr Pasupalan.

Born as Kalpana Ranjini to theatre artists VP Nair and Vijayalakshmi, her name became synonymous with effortless comedy with her comic timing bang on, making her the beloved of Malayalis across the globe. Kalpana sister’s Urvashi and Kalaranjini are also established actors.

She made her Malayalam film debut with MT Vasudevan Nair’s 1983 film Manju and two years later in Tamil with the film Chinna Veedu and went on to act in over 300 films in Malayalam and Tamil.

Some of her well known films include Sathi Leelavathi (1995) and Kaliveedu (1996).

She is survived by her daughter Sreemayi, who is 16 years old. She divorced her husband, Malayalam film director Anil, in June 2012. Their daughter lives with her.

She is the recipient of the National Award for Best Supporting Actress for her film Thanichalla Njan in 2012. The film is about the life of Chellamma Antharjanam and it was the first time that she was playing a character based on a real person: Razia.

She said that initially, when the film’s director Babu Thiruvalla approached her for the role, she had suggested that her sister Urvashi be cast as Razia.

At first, she did not believe that the award had gone to her. She told The Hindu: “…but for me the national award, for Thanichalla Njan , was a complete shock. When a reporter called me up to congratulate me soon after the awards were announced, I told him that he should have got it wrong and that some other actor named Kalpana would be the real winner.”

Kalpana was one of the few comedy actresses of the Malayalam movie industry. She is the sister of noted actresses Urvashi and Kalaranjini. Kalpana started as a child artist and later created a space of herseif in the industry. Her roles in Gandharvam, Peruvannapurathe visheshangal, Parvathy Parinayam, Kudumba Kodathy etc were well noticed. Kalpana was honoured with National Award for Best Supporting Actress in the movie 'Thanichalla Njan.

She has also published her memoir Njan Kalpana.

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