Pune, July, 13 (IANS) Veteran Marathi stage and film actor Nilu Phule died here Monday after a long battle with cancer. He was 79.
Phule had been admitted to a hospital for treatment of oesophagus cancer last week, according to a family source. He is survived by his wife and a daughter.
His demise comes barely two days after another doyen of the Marathi film industry, writer and composer Shantaram Nandgaonkar, died in Mumbai last Saturday.
Phule, an acclaimed and versatile actor, acted in over 130 films in Marathi and Hindi besides several stage plays.
Over the years, he excelled in negative character roles, making him a lovable villain of the silver screen in his career spanning more than four decades.
Among the memorable movies he acted in were 'Sinhasan', 'Ek Gaon, Bara Bhanagadi', 'Pudache Paul', 'Pinjra', 'Choricha Mamla', 'Saamna', (all Marathi). 'Saaransh', 'Mashaal', 'Coolie', (Hindi), and Marathi plays 'Sakharam Binder', 'Sooryasta' among many others.
Maharashtra Governor S. C. Jamir and Chief Minister Ashok Chavan Monday paid rich tributes to Phule and his contribution to the Marathi film industry.
In New Delhi, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni condoled the death of Phule and said that the void left by him would be difficult to fill.
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal announced a plan to set up a memorial in honour of Phule in his hometown (Pune).
Phule's last rites were conducted in Pune in the afternoon.