‘Sumantra’ of Ramayana, Chandrashekhar Vaidya is no more

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Mumbai, June 16: Nonagenarian actor Chandrashekhar Vaidya, who played the role of Sumantra, the chief minister of Ayodhya King Dasharatha in Ramnand Sagar’s epic Ramayana serial, died at the age of 97 in Mumbai today.

Chandrashekhar, who left an indelible mark of his acting in more than 110 films, also directed the films – “Cha Cha Cha” (1964) and “Street Singer” (1966). He was born on 7 July 1923 in the then Hyderabad State. Serial producer Ashok Shekhar is his son. Vaidya is counted among those distinguished actors who have given their invaluable services to the film world for a long time. Starting out as a junior artist, Vaidya has worked hard to make a mark as an actor, dancer, writer and film producer.

“It was Papa-ji who recognized the talent of young Helen and gave her a break as the lead heroine in the 1964 superhit film ‘Cha Cha Cha’. She later became a legend in her own right. Strictly following his routine, Chandrashekhar was influenced by the silver world of films from an early age, due to which he could not study and had to drop out of college.”

His son Ashok Shekhar

Due to his adeptness in Hindi and Urdu, he got more opportunities to establish himself in Hindi cinema than in Telugu cinema. In those days, veterans like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Rajendra Kumar used to ruled the roost in the film world of Mumbai. Young Chandrashekhar succeeded in making his place with dint of hard work.

It would be interesting to know that Vaidya got a job in Pune’s Shalimar studio on a recommendation from the ace singer of that time, Shamshad Begum, from where he became associated with the film world. His first film was ‘Babes’ (1950) with ‘chocolate-hero’ Bharat Bhushan as its lead hero. The friendship with Bharat Bhushan helped Chandsekhar get a firm foothold in the film industry as an established actor.

He wrote “Surang” (1953), “Kavi” and “Mastana” (both, 1954), “Baradari” (1955), “Basant Bahar” (1956), “Kali Topi Lal Rumal” (1959), “Barsaat Ki Raat”. “(1960), “Baat Ek Raat Ki” (1961) and acted in many prominent films. Later, he decided to make his own films and went on to play the role of a director, producer, writer, actor, dancer, etc. in major hits like “Cha Cha Cha” and “Street Singer”. His other important films include “King Kong” (1962), “Rustom-e-Baghdad” (1963), “Sardar”, “Kanyadaan” (1968), “Kati Patang”, “Mehbooba”, “Namak Halal”, ” A night of rain”, “coolie”, “drunken”, “power”, “boon”, “stranger” and “fear” (2000) are important. In 2000, he officially retired from Bollywood.

He is one of those rare Bollywood actors who had an opportunity to work with legendary directors like V. Shantaram, Nitin Bose, Devaki Bose, Vijay Bhatt, Bhagwan, B.R. Top directors and mega-stars of that era like Chopra, Prakash Mehra, Manmohan Desai, Shakti Samanta, Ramanand Sagar, Pramod Chakraborty, and mega-stars like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajendra Kumar, Bharat Bhushan, Dara Singh, Rajesh Khanna, Manoj Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan . He also held the position of President of the Cine Artists Association (CINTA) for many years.

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