Unnikrishnan Namboothiri who made headlines for conquering Covid 19 at the age of 98 recently, passed away on January 20 at a hospital in Payyanur. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and the novel coronavirus, a few weeks ago. Though he tested negative on Sunday and had returned home, he developed an infection and was rushed to the hospital where he breathed his last.
The actor, who made his acting debut with Desadanam at the age of 73 years, shot to fame with his performance as a witty grandfather in Kalayanaraman. He has played many a memorable role in movies such as Kaliyattam, Pokkiri Raja and Rappakai. He even played Kollywood superstar Kamal Haasan’s grandfather in Pammal K Sammandham.
He was last seen in Mazhavillinattam Vare, a film about the life-changing journey of a young Pakistani cricketer and a college student who is the cricketer’s ardent admirer. Unnikrishnan’s son-in-law Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, who is also a lyricist and music director, helmed the film.
Born in a family of temple priests in Kannur, Unnikrishnan had worked as the manager of a local school for several years. Unnikrishnan is survived by his two sons Bhavadasan, Kunjikrishnan and two daughters Yamuna and Devi.
He will be cremated today on the premises of his house at Korom on Thursday by adhering to COVID-19 protocol.
Meanwhile Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan shared in a statement on social media, “Unnikrishnan Namboothiri was an actor who excelled in expressive acting. He was known to be a distinct personality in the field of cinema for his age-old interest and confidence for the same. A fellow leftist, he had closely associated with the CPI (M). His demise is a great loss to the artist fraternity. This is a personal loss for me as well. The gap left by his death in the cultural space, cannot be easily filled.”
Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala in a tweet said, "Condolences on the demise of senior malayalam actor Unnikrishnan Namboothiri. His dedication at work even at his old age is a testimony for his passion towards cinema. He will be fondly remembered for his roles (Sic)"
Kamal Haasan took to his Twitter page to post a picture of Unnikrishnan and paid his last respects.
His tweet in Tamil is translated as "Unnikrishnan Namboothiri entered the industry at the age of 73 and made Malayalees laugh for 18 years. He was hailed for his infectious energy. He was supposed to be a centenarian in two years but has left us today. My heartfelt tributes."
Mohanlal too posted a smiling photo of Unnikrishnan Namboothiri and paid his tributes to the veteran.
The portrait of the actor is by Liju Palangat