Dubai: Noted Malayalam actor and film producer Prathap Pothen (69) passed away in his sleep at his flat in Chennai on Friday morning.
Born in Thiruvananthapuram, he has acted in more than 100 films in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. He has also made his mark as a director, producer and screenplay writer.
Hailing from a leading business family in Thiruvananthapuram, Pothen studied in Lawrence School in Ooty. A started his professional career in the field of advertising as a copy writer.
In 1978, popular director Bharatan spotted him and cast in the 'Aaravam'. In the eighties, Pothen grabbed the spotlight with his work in some hit films like 'Chamaram' and 'Thakara', among many others.
He married actress Radhika in 1985, which lasted a year, and later he married a corporate professional. The couple has a daughter who was present with him when he passed away at his flat in Chennai.
According to initial media reports, a police official said he had died of natural causes though police will make further enquiries.
Condoling the death of Pothen, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, "He will always be remembered for his style and the way he carried his way forward in the industry. Even when in the years he remained aloof from the industry, he was always remembered for his performance and now that he has passed away, his name will always be etched in the memory of all."
Pothen's brother Hari Pothen was a popular producer who passed away in the mid-nineties.
According to industry sources, the last rites would be performed in Chennai on Saturday.
As the news of his death spread, stars from the South Indian film industry took to social media to mourn the death of the veteran actor-director.
"So disheartened. Heartbreaking. Lost a very good friend,a wonderful human being...," wrote actress Khushbu Sundar.
“Rest in peace uncle! I will miss you,” tweeted, Malayalam actor Pritviraj Sukumaran.
Noted actress Manju Warrier shared a photo of Prathap Pothen on her Instagram handle. So did actress Rima Kallingal and director Ashiq Abu.
“Thank you for being my friend, well-wisher who always wanted me to succeed. Will miss you forever. Rest in peace,” tweeted actress Parvati Nair.