Seasoned actor-filmmaker Ambika Rao passed away on Monday night. She was undergoing treatment for kidney-related ailments when she contracted a COVID-19 infection. She passed away at a private hospital in Kochi at the age of 58.
Ambika had been undergoing treatment for her kidney problems for a long time. However, her ailments didn’t stop her from pursuing a career in movies. She forayed into the film industry as an assistant director in early 2000. She has assisted several directors, including Balachandra Menon, Anwar Rasheed, Shafi, and Vinayan. She also acted in many movies. Recently, she made a mark with her performances in hit films like Virus and Kumbalangi Nights.
The 2019 medical thriller, Virus, tells the real story of the efforts of the medical staff and the Kerala government in containing the outbreak of the Nipah virus in 2018. Ambika played the role of the head nurse in the movie, which was directed by Aashiq Abu.
In the family drama Kumbalangi Nights, Ambika played the role of the mother-in-law of Fahadh Faasil’s character, Shammi. She had delivered a very lived-in performance of a conservative woman who had surrendered herself to traditional gender roles and identity. Shammi exploits her character’s unwillingness to question the choices of the patriarch to control the house and her daughters. Ambika was also known for Meesha Madhavan, Salt and Pepper, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, and Thamasha, to name a few.
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The members of the Malayalam film fraternity had extended their condolences on the passing of Ambika. “Rest in peace Ambika Chechi,” tweeted actor-filmmaker Prithviraj Sukumaran. “Rest in everlasting peace Chechi!! ……Ambika Rao…..(sic),” wrote Kunchacko Boban.
Malayalam superstars Mohanlal and Mammootty also condoled the passing of Ambika on their social media pages.