Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 2 (IANS) Popular Malayalam film actor Cochin Haneefa died at a hospital in Chennai Tuesday, family sources said. He was 58.
Haneefa, known for his villainous roles in movies as well as his prowess at comedy, had been in and out of hospitals since last October following a liver ailment. His body is expected to be brought to Kochi Wednesday for the last rites.
Born as Salim Ahmed Ghoush, the actor who hails from Kochi started off as a mimicry artiste and was also an accomplished script writer.
He entered the film world in 1979 as a villain in 'Mamangom', but he slowly turned to comedy and essayed character roles with ease too. In an acting career spanning more than three decades, he acted in more than 300 films including Tamil, Telegu and Hindi.
His last Malayalam film was 'Body Guard' released last year. The veteran also directed seven Malayalam and six Tamil films.
Haneefa's all-time hits include 'Meesha Madahavan', 'Kireedom', 'Azhakiya Ravanan', and 'Parakam Thalika'. He was the director of hit film 'Valselyam'.
Comic actor Jagadeesh, who acted with Haneefa in several movies, said he was shocked to hear of Haneefa's demise.
'He was a person who struggled and rose to the heights. And his greatness was that he has helped numerous people in his life. He was immediately accepted by the audience when he shifted from being a villain to a comedian and this was because of his superior acting skills,' said Jagadeesh.
M.K. Muneer, former minister and chairman of Malayalam television channel India Vision, said he and Haneefa had been friends for many years.
'Incidentally, Haneefa was one of the first people who gave me lot of insights to begin the TV channel. Besides being a great actor, he was a lovely person,' Muneer said.
His trademark laughter and dialogue delivery made him a popular and a much sought after actor.
Last year, the Malayalam film industry lost veteran director Lohithadas, popular actors Murali and Rajan P. Dev, all falling victims to liver ailments.