Actor and Ambedkar activist Vira Sathidar passes away at 62 due to COVID-19 complications
The actor, who was in his early sixties, was earlier admitted to the AIIMS in Nagpur after he contracted the coronavirus. Vira’s son Rahul told media sources that his father had developed pneumonia as well.
He is best known for featuring in the National Award-winning movie Court released in 2014. The actor was also a poet and an activist for the Dalit Panthers, an organisation dedicated to fighting caste discrimination.
Filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane, who directed Court, confirmed the news and said Vira had been put on ventilator support and breathed his last around 3 AM. “It’s true. He passed away at around 3 AM in the hospital. He had COVID-19 and was on ventilator. It's extremely unfortunate news. It is yet to sink in,” Tamhane told media sources.
Vira rose to prominence after playing the role of protest singer NaNarayan Kamble—who is accused of encouraging a manhole worker to commit suicide through one of his folk songs—in the film Court.
Chaitanya said the news of Sathidar’s demise has come as a “huge shock” to him. “He was not only an actor, activist and a poet but also one of the nicest human beings I’ve met. I still can’t process it. He was a fantastic person and I can now only think of the time we spent making Court,” the director said.
Apart from Court, which was India’s official entry to Oscars 2016, Vira had also featured in two more short films.
Reports quoted his associate, Mukund Adewar as saying that the activist had been working on a documentary titled Aadhaa Chaand Tum Rakhlo before he passed away.