In a major setback to the Odia entertainment industry, noted film actor and jatra artiste Raimohan Parida, who excelled in portraying negative roles, was found hanging in his home in Bhubaneswar on Friday morning.
Police officials said prima facie it seemed Parida died by suicide in his home at Prachi Vihar area of Bhubaneswar.
“He was found hanging from a rope attached to the ceiling in his home,” said a police official at Mancheswar police station.
The reason for him taking such an extreme step remains unknown. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
The 58-year-old actor was known for portraying negative roles in over 100 Odia and Bengali films as well as 40-odd Jatra shows.
After Hara Patnaik, another Odia actor who succumbed to cancer in 2015, Raimohan was the biggest face in Odia movies and Jatra shows when it came to portraying villainous roles.
Born in Keonjhar district, Raimohan completed his graduation from Karanjia College in Mayurbhanj district and then enrolled in Utal Sangeeta Mahavidyalaya in Bhubaneswar where he studied drama.
His debut movie was ‘Paka Kambal Pot Chhata’ in 1986 but he earned his first recognition in the 1987 film ‘Sagar’, where he played a negative character.
In 1991, he made his debut in Odia Jatra industry directing the play ‘Bhanga aaina’ produced by Tarini Gananatya.
Expressing shock over Raimohan’s death, noted actor and former MP Siddhant Mahapatra, said it is hard to believe an ever-smiling actor, who has seen several ups and downs in life, can think of taking such a harsh step.
“He was quite successful and money can’t be the reason of his death. A thorough investigation is needed,” said Mahapatra.
Mahapatra said he had met Raimohan and his family last week at a function and the latter did not seem to be depressed. “He was his usual jovial self. What drove him to do something like this needs to be investigated,” he added.
As the news of Raimohan’s death spread, a shocked Odia film industry reached the actor’s home to pay their respects.
“He was always full of life. He would regularly meet his friends at roadside tea stalls. He never seemed to be depressed. It beats me he would kill himself like this. It’s all a mystery to me,” said actor and BJP leader Sritam Das.
Raimohan’s filmography includes Ram Laxman, Aasibu Kebe Saji Mo Rani, Nagapanchami, UdandiSita, Tu Thile Mo Dara Kahaku, Rana Bhumi, Mental Toka, Sinha Bahini, Kulanandan, Kandhei aakhire Luha, Tu Thile Mo Dara Kahaku, among others.
He won several accolades for his performances in movies like Singha Bahini (1998), Suna Bhauja (1994) and Mental (2014).
In the movie Ranbhumi, his dialogue “Heiti anani Jyoti mashtrani” became a meme fest on social media channels.
Raimohan’s death comes at a time when the Odia entertainment industry has been facing its biggest challenge with several industry veterans passing away in the last 6-7 years while the number of cinema halls showing Odia movies has also declined drastically.
Since 2015, several actors including Hara Patnaik, Bijay Mohanty, Ajit Das, Mihir Das, Biraj Das and Deepa Sahu have died.