Kollam Sudhi had just embarked on the boat of hopeful dreams, leaving behind the arduous days of his past. But then death was waiting for him in the form of a car accident at the end of a darkened road. On a journey with friends after a stage show at Vadakara, Sudhi would have never imagined that he would encounter death. Kollam Sudhi's car collided with a tempo at Kaipamangalam, Thrissur at 4.30 in the morning while returning home from Vadakara.
On June 5, Monday morning, Malayalis woke up to the news of Kollam Sudhi's accidental death. And thus, Kollam Sudhi hopped onto the list of Malayali's beloved artists who died unexpectedly when they were at the edge of life's hopes. Similarly, there are other names etched in the memories of people like Monisha, Balabhaskar, Jayan, Rani Chandra, Soundarya, and Taruni Sachdev who met untimely deaths and departed without warning.
Lost in December: The Untimely Demise of Monisha
'A star child who mesmerized us with her talent,' is how MT Vasudevan Nair, the legend of Malayalam writing, described our beloved actress Monisha. Sadly, during the peak of her career, tragedy struck one December morning when a KSRTC bus claimed her life on the road. Monisha, who won the National Award for Best Actress at the tender age of 15 for her debut film 'Nakhakshathangal,' showcased numerous remarkable performances and portrayed unforgettable characters. Monisha was on her way to becoming the best heroine Malayalam has ever seen.
On the misty morning of December 5, 1992, Monisha and her mother Sridevi Unni were traveling from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi by car. Engulfed by deep sleep, Monisha rested her head on her mother's shoulder. When they reached the intersection at Cherthala X- ray junction, an oncoming KSRTC car rushed towards their car. The car and bus collided. Monisha and the driver died. The cause of Monisha’s death was a head injury. Due to the impact of the hit, the door of the car had opened and Sridevi fell out. Hence Sridevi Unni escaped with serious injuries. It was with great shock that Kerala learned of Monisha's death.
The Unforgettable Loss of Balabhaskar
A car accident and a death that is still shrouded in mystery. Malayalis still cannot fully believe and accept the death of violinist Balabhaskar. Balabhaskar was on his way to Thiruvananthapuram with his wife and daughter after visiting a temple in Thrissur. On September 25, 2019, the car they were traveling in hit a tree near Pallipuram CRPF camp in Thiruvananthapuram. His two-year-old daughter Tejaswini Bala died at the scene of the accident. Balabhaskar succumbed to his injuries on October 2, 2018.
His wife and the driver escaped with injuries. Many inquiries and doubts have been raised about this accident and death. Balabhaskar's wife Lakshmi had testified in the court that excessive speed was the cause of the accident.
Jayan’s Final Take
Jayan was a thunderbolt on the silver screen for a Malayali. An acting talent who gifted Keralites with irreplaceable acting moments of masculinity. Jayan's boldness in the action scenes was forever thrilling for the audience. But shooting such an action scene claimed Jayan's life in 1980.
On 16 November 1980, Sunday, the climax shooting of ‘Kolilakkam’ directed by PN Sundaram took place in Chennai. The scene involved climbing onto a helicopter from a moving bike. The director said the scene was okay in the first take. Since Jayan wasn’t completely satisfied, he said to have a second take, and everyone agreed. In the second take, the helicopter lost its balance and crashed along with Jayan, who was hanging onto it. He suffered fatal head injuries in the accident. Even though Jayan was rushed to the hospital, his life couldn’t be saved. A lot of controversies arose about this accident. Heartbroken Malayalees thronged Jayan's mourning procession. There was even a private bus strike in Kerala that day. Still, thousands flocked to see the dead body which was escorted by vehicles from Thiruvananthapuram Airport to the Kollam Cantonment ground.
Lost Among the Clouds
Actress Rani Chandra was Miss Kerala in 1972. She also won the State Film Award for Best Actress for the movie ‘Swapnadanam’. But on September 12, 1976, a plane crash claimed Rani Chandra's life. Rani Chandra died while returning from Mumbai with her mother and sisters. She was returning after a dance performance.
Actress Soundarya, who became Malayali’s favorite with the movies, ‘Yathrakarude Sradhakku’, and ‘Kilichudan Mambazham’, also died due to a plane crash in Bangalore. Death awaited Soundarya in the form of an accident while traveling for an election campaign.
Child actor Taruni Sachdev, who became Malayali’s best-loved with the movie ‘Vellinakshatram,’ also died in a plane crash. On her birthday, May 14, 2012, Taruni was traveling to Nepal when death claimed the child actor in the form of a plane crash.
A road accident that paralyzed Jagathy
March 10, 2012, is a morning that Malayalis will never forget. Popular Malayalam actor Jagathy Sreekumar was injured in a car accident at Panambra, near Calicut University. Jagathy met with the accident while he was on his way to the location of the movie ‘Edavapathi’ directed by Lenin Rajendran. The Innova car in which Jagathy was traveling rammed into the divider on the national highway.
The front of the car completely crashed into the divider. Jagathy was hospitalized due to severe injuries. He slowly walked his way from the brink of death to the light of life. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that every Malayali prayed for Jagathy's return. Despite making a miraculous recovery and returning to life, Jagathy Sreekumar has not been able to resume his active presence in the field of acting as he once did.