Renowned Bengali film actor and former Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul died following a cardiac arrest in Mumbai on Tuesday, family sources said.
The 61-year-old actor is survived by his wife and a daughter, who he had gone to visit in the western metropolis.
Paul passed away in a hospital near Juhu, where he breathed his last around 4 a.m.
Paul was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Krishnanagar constituency in 2009 and 2014. Prior to that he became a member of the West Bengal Assembly twice in 2001 and 2006 by winning from Alipore seat.
Tapas Paul etched a permanent place in the heart of Bengali cine lovers with his memorable and soulful portrayal of lead roles in blockbusters like Dadar Kirti (1980), Saheb (1981), Bhalobasa Bhalobasa (1985), Gurudakshina (1987) and Anurager Choyan (1986).
While Paul failed to recreate his magic in Bollywood, he did star opposite a future megastar.
In fact, few remember that Tapas Paul debuted with an actor Madhuri Dixit in 1984. The movie was called Abodh and it sank without a trace, but critics did notice Dixit’s acting. Her breakthrough movie with come with Tezaab (1988) and would go on to star in dramas such as Ram Lakhan, Parinda, Ilaaka, Khalnayak and more such movies before becoming Bollywood reigning star.
Abodh starred Madhuri Dixit, Tapas Pal, Vinod Sharma, Ashok Saraf, Mohan Choti and Dinesh Hingoo. The movie was directed by Hiren Nag and produced by Tarachand Barjatya.
Nag, who is credited with successfully launching Dixit's career, also has several other films to his name, including Geet Gaata Chal in 1975 and Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se in 1978.
Check out this comedy scene from Abodh:
Controversy in Paul’s life
However, the last few years of his life saw Paul land in controversies.
In 2014, a video of his speech warning Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) men to be "beware" of him as he won't spare them "and destroy your entire clan" and "unleash my boys to rape your women" became viral, causing widespread outrage across the nation.
He was also arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on December 30, 2016, in connection with the multi-crore rupee Rose Valley Chit Fund scam, and got bail after remaining 13 months in incarceration.
"Tapas Paul. 1958-2020, today. King of Bangla cinema. Former Trinamool MP and MLA. Travel well, my friend," tweeted his party colleague and Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien.
"Sad news of the demise of Mr. #TapasPaul, a popular actor of Bengali films and former TMC MP. I pray to God to grant the departed soul a place at my feet and the family to bear this profound grief. Humble tribute!" Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted in Hindi.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that she was "saddened and shocked" to hear about the news. to hear about the demise of Tapas Paul.
"He was a superstar of Bengali cinema who was a member of the Trinamool family. Tapas served the people as a two-term MP and MLA. We will miss him dearly. My condolences to his wife Nandini, daughter Sohini & his many fans," she took to Twitter to write.
(With inputs from PTI)
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