Actor and activist Vira Sathidar passed away today (April 13) due to complications from COVID-19. He had been admitted to a hospital in Nagpur, Maharashtra, where he passed away early morning today. He was 62 years of age.
Sathidar was well-known for his performance as the protest poet and teacher Narayan Kamble in Chaitanya Tamhane's National Film Award-winning movie Court (2015). The film had gone on to become India's entry to the Oscar Awards in 2016, and had won more than 18 international awards, including at the 71st Venice International Film Festival in 2014 where it premiered before its theatrical release.
Sathidar's son and colleagues spoke about his unfortunate demise to The Indian Express. The actor's son revealed that his father was admitted to AIIMS Nagpur for COVID-19 treatment. The actor had developed pneumonia and passed away at 4 am of complications related to the disease.
Music director Sambhaji Bhagat, who had worked with the actor, revealed that Sathidar was on the ventilator for the last two days. Bhagat revealed that he is extremely pained by Sathidar's demise and described him as not only a talented actor but also a beautiful human being.
Court writer and director Chaitanya Tamhane also expressed grief on the passing away of the actor. The filmmaker said that he is shocked and is speechless on Vira Sathidar's passing away. He described the actor to be one of the nicest people he knew and that he considers himself blessed to have been able to get an opportunity to work with him. The director said that he is still processing the news of his death.
About Vira Sathidar, his original name was Vipul Vairagade. As a child, he used to herd cows in a village in the Wardha district of Maharashtra. Later, he went on to become an activist with the Ambedkarite movement and Dalit Panthers. He also started writing poetry and went on to work in many Marathi movies. However, Court remains one of his best works to date. His associate Mukund Adewar revealed to IE that the actor was working in a documentary called Aadhaa Chaand Tum Rakhlo.
Filmibeat offers condolences to the family and friends of Vira Sathidar.