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Entertainment

South Indian actor Manjula Vijayakumar passes away at 59

India July 23(IM):Actor Manjula Vijayakumar, who acted in more than a hundred films in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, died on Tuesday morning. She was 59 and is survived by her husband and actor Vijayakumar and three daughters, Vanitha, Preetha and Sridevi.

Doctors at Sri Ramachandra Medical College hospital, where she was admitted last Wednesday after a fall, said the actress died following renal failure. "Her whole family was with her when she died," said actor Arun Vijay, her stepson from Vijayakumar's first marriage. "She lost consciousness this morning". Actor Khushboo, a close friend of the family, was present by Manjula's bedside when she breathed her last. "She was the most beautiful soul. I will never forget her. She was instrumental for my marriage. I remember I had gone to her house for a New Year party to ring in the millennium. Sundar and I were not married then. In fact, we had broken up.

But we had gone to the party together. She smeared some kumkumum on my forehead and said we would be married in three months," said Khushboo. "Sundar and I got married in the following March. Manjulamma has been part of our lives all these years". Director KS Ravikumar, who cast Manjula in his five Tamil movies, said the reason why he had chosen her was not just because she was a great performer but also because he was her fan. "She was large-hearted," said Ravikumar. He said the actress presented him with a gold dollar from a chain she was wearing as soon as she had seen his movie 'Sakthivel' (1994), in which she had a supporting role. "She detached the gold pendant, which had a picture of Lord Venkateswara on it, and just handed it to me saying she loved the movie," said Ravikumar.

Born on September 9, 1953, Manjula made her debut in Gemini Ganesan-starrer 'Shanthi Nilayam' (1969), but the movie that shot her to fame was 'Rickshawkaran'(1971), starring MGR. She continued to bag lead roles till the late 70s and then appeared in supporting roles. Manjula performed with legends like late Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan and M G Ramachandran as well as present stars like Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth. She essayed memorable roles in Tamil movies like 'Ulagam Sutrum Valiban,' (1974), 'Ninaithathai Mudippavan' (1975), 'Anbe Aaruyire' (1975) and 'Shankar Salim Simon' (1978). Her famous Telugu movies include 'Jai Jawan' (1970), 'Mayadari Malligadu' (1973), 'Alluri Seetarama Raju' (1974), 'Gunavanthudu' (1975) and 'Vaasu' (2002).

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