Actor Raghuvaran passes away

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Chennai, Mar 19: Well-known Tamil actor Raghuvaran died at a private hospital here today after a brief illness. He was 60. He is survived by his former actor-wife Rohini (the couple had divorced) and their son Nanda, family sources said. Raguvaran had been unwell for the last few years and had taken a sabbatical from active films for some time.

He made a comeback last year in the film ''Sivapathigaram'' and had later acted in big films including Rajnikanth's blockbuster ''Sivaji-The Boss''. His last film was ''Sila Nerangalil'' and ''Bheema'', which were released recently. The tall and handsome Kollywood star, a student of the film Institute here, was known for essaying the roles of Hero as well as Villain with equal aplomb. Raghuvaran was the quintessential psychopathic baddie of Tamil cinema and gave villainy on screen a good name. The life of the Lanky actor, who was a perfect fit for any role, be it Hero, Villain or characteristic role, turned out to be bitter-sweet as he had to constantly fight his tendency to embrace the easier pleasures that were easily available to impressionable youngsters in Kollywood.

Raghuvaran, who made his debut as a brooding Commie hero in ''Ezhavathu Manithan,'' could not handle the success and fame that came his way early as he fell into some bad habits, including alcohol, from which he never really came out till his untimely death.

Even as he was living life on the edge, Raghuvaran managed to earn a name for himself as someone whose acting ability was refreshingly sans the usual Kollywood cliches.

After playing hero roles not with egregious success, Raghuvaran was quick to switch over to the archetypal middle-class character roles.

Films like ''Samsaram Adhu Minsaram,'' ''Aaha'' and several movies with Rajnikanth, including ''Siva,'' ''Raja Chinna Roja,'' ''Muthu,'' ''Badsha,'' ''Arunachalam'' and ''Sivaji'' proved his versatility.

But it was as a villain, with shades of deep black and a touch of enigmatic eccentricity, that Raghuvaran's eventual screen image was come to be defined. The scene in which he completely lets himself loose, mouthing 'I know' for heaven knows how many times, in the film ''Puriyatha Puthir,'' became so popular that his real-life image was almost suspected to be something similar.

But even as he was fighting what eventually turned out to be a losing battle with the bottle, his spiritual and philosophical side also opened up, when he became a devotee of Sai Baba.

It was during this phase he struck a romantic chord with actress Rohini and the duo entered into a wedlock and had a son Nanda, who is now with Raghuvaran.

The marriage, as it happened, like his film career promised a lot, but ended up mighty short. After court granted them divorce, Raghuvaran became an even more heart-broken and fell into his self-created abyss.

Though well-meaning individuals, who thought highly of his acting skills, tried to shore him up with some film offers all through last year, Raghuvaran was for all practical purposes had called it quits -- on films and life too.

Raghuvaran's life, like some of his movies, including the almost biographical ''Idhu Oru Manidhanin Kadhai'' (It's a story of man-- who gets transformed after becoming a alcoholic), was something of a cautionary morality play, a noir show of how success could be as lethal as a failure.

UNI

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