MUMBAI: Noted Marathi actor Neelu Phule passed away in Pune this morning after prolonged illness.
Phule, born in 1931 in Pune, is best remembered for his performance in Sakahram Binder – the play written by Vijay Tendulkar. He began his career in film acting in 1968 with Ek Gaon Bara Bhanagadi directed by Anant Mane, which became instant hit. After this success, he never looked back and went on to act in nearly 250 Marathi and Hindi films.
The minister for information and broadcasting Ambika Soni condoled the death of Phule. The Minister recounted that the versatile actor would be long remembered for his strong social commitment apart from his contribution to Marathi theatre and films.
Describing Neelu Phule as one of the finest and most loved Marathi actors in performing arts, Soni said that the void created by the death of Phule would be hard to fill.
Phule’s memorable roles include films like Pinjara directed by V. Shantaram, Samana and Sinhasan, which were both directed by Dr. Jabbar Patel, Pudhache Paul directed by Rajdutt and Choricha Mamla directed by Babasaheb Fatehlal among others. His major Hindi films include Saaransh directed by Mahesh Bhatt, Coolie directed by Manmohan Desai and Mashal directed by Yash Chopra. Nilu Phule was the only actor to win Best Actor’s award by the Maharashtra Government consecutively for three years. He was also honoured with Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Phule is survived by wife, Rajani and daughter, Gargi.