Popular actor Sarath Babu, best known for his performances in Tamil and Telugu films, passed away at the age of 71 on May 22 in Hyderabad. The official statement released by AIG Hospital, where the actor was admitted last month due to age-related ailments, cited multiple organ failure as the cause of death.
Sarath Babu forayed into acting with the 1973 Telugu film Rama Rajyam and made his Tamil debut in 1977 with K Balachander's Tamil film, Pattina Pravesam. He went on to establish himself as a reliable character artist and in a career spanning 5 decades, he essayed prominent roles in several films across Tamil and Telugu.
Some of his most notable characters in Tamil include the assistant engineer who is mistaken to be a bad guy Mullum Malarum (1978) and a noble soul surrounded by grey characters in Uthiripookkal (1979). In Netrikkann (1980), he essayed a brief but impactful negative role, while in both Velaikaran (1987) and Muthu (1994), he played a kind-hearted master to the servant played by Rajinikanth. His role of Ashok, a friend-turned-foe to Rajinkanth’s hero in Annamalai (1992) remains an iconic character. He was last seen in Vasantha Mullai earlier this year.
Likewise, his popular works in Telugu include K Balachander’s Idi Katha Kaadu (1979), in which essayed the role of the film’s female protagonist’s love interest and Seetakoka Chiluka (1981) saw him as a cold brother who controls his sister. In the ‘90s and 2000s, he was the go-to choice for warm and affable supporting characters. Some films in which played likable roles as a father, brother and grandfather include Sisindri (1995), Akkada Ammayi Ikkada Abbayi (1996), Nuvvu Leka Nenu Lenu (2002), Shankar Dada Zindabad (2007), Evandoi Srivaru (2006). More recently, he was seen in Vakeel Saab (2021). He won three Nandi Awards in the Best Supporting Actor category for the Telugu films, Seethakoka Chilaka, O Bharya Katha (1988), and Neerajanam (1989).
Condolences have been pouring in from the film fraternity and fans, with many celebrities taking to social media to pen heartfelt notes reminiscing their association with the actor.
His last rites will be reportedly performed in Chennai.