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Veteran Malayalam film personality Thampi Kannanthanam died on Tuesday at a private hospital in Kerala after several days of illness, the film fraternity said. He was 65.

Kannanthanam was a producer, director and has also acted in a few films. He was admitted to a private hospital last week.

A multi-faceted film personality, Kannanthanam was a hugely successful and celebrated director and often regarded as the one who took Mohanlal to his career high in Rajavinte Makan in 1986. After this film, Mohanlal had never looked back in his career.

Mohanlal told the media over the phone from Kulu-Manali in Himachal Pradesh, that without any qualms he would say Kannanthanam moulded him into the star he is today.

“A long time good friend of mine has passed away and his long standing wish of making a sequel to our block buster Rajavinte Makan now will never happen again,” said Mohanlal.

Kannanthanam directed 16 films between 1983 and 2004 and produced seven films, while he acted in 10.

Kannanthanam began as an assistant to ace filmmaker Sasikumars and Joshy. When he began his own directing career, most of his films were box office hits.