By SM.23 Jun, 2020
KOCHI: Veteran Kerala theatre artist, actor and singer Pappukutty Bhagavathar passed away in Kochi on Monday at the age of 107.
The veteran artist had acted in over 25 Malayalam movies. He passed away at his house in Perumpadappu in Kochi due to an age-related illness.
He was the father of Malayalam actor Mohan Jose. Veteran film director KG George is his son-in-law. He is survived by his children Mohan Jose, Selma George, Sabu Jose, Shadhi, and Jeevan.
Popularly known among peers as the ‘Kerala Saigal’, he shot to fame in recent years after singing the popular Malayalam song ‘Entadukke Vannadukkum’ in the film Marykkundoru Kunjaadu directed by Shafi in 2010. At the time, he was 95.
He got the name ‘Kerala Saigal’ by singing the popular song ‘So Ja Rajkumari Soja’ sung by KL Saigal in the 1940’s film Zindagi. Pappukutty Bhagavathar said in an earlier interview that he has sung the song on over ten thousand stages in Kerala.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the death of the veteran artist.
"He came as a child artist in Malayalam cinema, later was an active figure as an actor and singer for over seven decades in the field of both cinema and theatre. His contributions will always be remembered by the cultural Kerala," Pinarayi Vijayan said in an official statement.
Pappukutty Bhagavathar was born at Vypin in Ernakulam district as the second child of Michael and Anna on 29 March, 1913. He had two brothers, Daniel and Varghese and two sisters, Rosy and Valsala. He studied at Government boys school Vypin.
He stepped into the field of acting and singing as a child artist through a musical play named Devamani at the age of seven. At the age of 17, he acted in the movie Mishihacharithram by PJ Cherian, by playing the role of Mary Magdalene.
He was later an active member of theatre groups in Changanassery. He has played in over ten thousand stages as a theatre artist.
He has also acted in famous movies of the 60’s like Kaattukurangu, Anchusundarikal, Sree Guruvayoorappan, Padicha Kallan etc, along with veteran actors of the time like Prem Nazir, Sathyan and Thikkurisshi.