Chennai, Oct 11: Tamil Nadu on Sunday bid a tearful farewell to legendary Tamil actress Manorama as her body was cremated here after a funeral procession attended by thousands of people, fans, and members of the film fraternity.
Earlier, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa arrived at the residence of Manorama in T Nagar, placed a wreath and showered encomiums on the actress and hailed her as "elder sister."
"There are no words to describe my grief, she is my elder sister in film industry," she told Manorama's relatives.
Reminiscing about her long association with her, she said Manorama used to affectionately serve her food whenever she went to her house.
"She has come to my house many times and we have had food together, I cannot forget those days, no one can break the bond between us," Jayalalithaa said.
MGR had special affection for Manorama and Sivaji Ganesan used to hail her as a genius in acting, she added. "She is truly a genius, there is no achiever like her in the Tamil film industry, not only before her and also no one is going to be born hereafter, her death is an irreparable loss, the vacuum left by her cannot be filled by anybody."
Even as fans and public continued to pour in at Manorama's residence, the funeral procession began. With the body of the actress placed in a flower decked van, it slowly began winding its way to Kailasa Puram cremation ground at Mylapore here through major thoroughfares.
People converged on both sides of the roads and came up to the terrace of high rise buildings to witness the procession and pay their last respects to the versatile actress. At the cremation ground too, there was a huge congregation of people which gave a tough time to police who had to resort to a baton charge to regulate them.
As a mark of respect, film shootings were today cancelled. Manorama's son Boopathy performed the last rites and lit the funeral pyre as her body was consigned to flames.
DMK treasurer M K Stalin condoled the death of Manorama and hailed her contribution to Tamil cinema and said her roles in movies like that of 'Jiljil Ramamani' in Thillana Mohanambal would continue to be remembered by Tamil people.
CPI(M) State Secretary G Ramakrishnan said her passing away was a loss not only for the Tamil film fraternity, but to the entire Tamil society. CPI State Secretary R Mutharasan hailed her matchless contribution and said she was a teacher to other actors by virtue of her talent.
BJP Tamil Nadu unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan showered encomiums on her and said she was a great role model who made great achievements and rose in life through sheer hard work.
TMC chief G K Vasan and Tamilaga Valvurimai Katchi chief Velmurugan were among other leaders who condoled her death. Manorama's grandson Rajarajan told reporters that the final rites and cremation would be held here this evening.
"It is the desire of the film industry that the road where she lived be named after her," said actor Vignesh.
PMK chief Ramadoss said, "The history of Tamil cinema cannot be written by avoiding her. She was emotionally attached with Tamil film industry."
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore expressed his condolences on the demise of Manorama.
"Sad to know the demise of Tamil actor Manorama. Her sensitivity in portraying complex emotions credits her a special place in cinematic history, RIP," he wrote on Twitter.