MUMBAI: Legendary Odia Actor Sadhu Meher breathed his last at his residence in Mumbai at the age of 84, marking the end of an era in Indian cinema. The Odisha chief minister's office confirmed the news on Friday after losing the first Odia actress to win the National Award for Best Actress. Born in Guvellipadar village near Palsagura in Boudh district, Meher’s illustrious career spans both Hindi and Odia films.
He not only wrote important roles in films directed by veterans like Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal and Tapan Sinha but also contributed immensely to the Odia film industry as an actor, director and producer Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik acknowledged Meher’s immense contribution to the film world and expressed his condolences.
CM Patnaik said, "Meher is the first Odia actor to be honored with the National Film Award. His departure is an irreparable loss to the art world." Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled Meher's death, acknowledging that he was one of the stalwarts of both Hindi and Odia cinema.
In an official statement, PM Modi commented, "The demise of Shri Sadhu Meherji is a great loss to the film world and our cultural heritage. In his memory, we appreciate the rich artistic legacy he left behind." Om Shanti. Meher's acting skills were showcased in notable films like Mrinal Sen's 'Bhuvan Shome' (1969), 'Mrigaya' (The Royal Hunt, 1977), Shyam Benegal's 'Ankur' (The Seeding, 1974) and also left his mark in popular films detective series 'Byomkesh Bakshi'.
The veteran actress won the National Film Award for Best Actress for her brilliant performance in ‘Ankur’. His film achievements were recognized with the prestigious Padma Shri in 2017 in recognition of his lifelong contribution to the entertainment industry. In 2011, Meher was felicitated with the Jaydeva Samman by the Odisha government.
Meher’s death is mourned by his family, colleagues and countless fans. His legacy as a versatile actor and an iconic figure in Indian cinema resonates in the hearts of film buffs, his contribution to the annals of entertainment history will be remembered as a timeless treasure.