National Award-winning Kannada actor Sanchari Vijay dies, fans pay last respects

Kannada actor Sanchari Vijay died at a hospital in Bengaluru after suffering serious head injuries in a road accident. His funeral will take place at his native place.

Kannada actor Sanchari Vijay has died after suffering serious head injuries in a road accident. He was 38. His body has been kept at Ravindra Kalakshetra in Bengaluru for people to pay their last respects. His last rites will be held at his birth place Panchanahalli, Kadur Taluk. His family had said that they would be donating his organs.

Late on Monday night, doctors had announced that he was brain dead. “Vijay’s apnea tests were performed at 12.25 pm and 7.50 pm today (Monday) and are found to be positive. This means that there is irreversible complete damage to the brain. The next step is the retrieval of organs and then transplant procedures will follow,” the hospital had said in a bulletin.

The actor suffered brain injuries after the bike he was riding skidded and hit an electric pole. He was admitted to Begaluru’s Apollo hospital where he underwent an emergency surgery. He, however, stayed in a state of coma.

A statement from the hospital said on Monday that he was on life support in the neuro ICU, “Neurologically he is deeply unconscious and is showing signs of brain failure. The family had come forward and consented for organ donation keeping in view the current irreversible brain damage. We will follow the guidelines as per organ donation protocol.”

“Doctors have informed us that his brain stem has failed and the possibilities of him coming back are very slim,” Vijay’s brother Siddesh Kumar told the media at the hospital. In order to honour the memory of Vijay, the family has decided to donate his organs. “According to medical experts, if he dies in the next 8-12 hours, we can’t even donate his organs. Let him continue his service to society even after his death,” added Siddesh.

The accident took place on Saturday night when Vijay had gone with his friend Naveen to buy medicines. While Naveen fractured his leg, Vijay sustained serious injuries to the head. A complaint has been filed against Naveen by the actor’s family.

Many of his colleagues from the Kannada film industry paid tributes to the actor. Superstar Sudeep wrote on Twitter, “Very very disheartening to accept that Sanchari Vijay breathed his last. Met him couple of times just bfr this lockdown,,,, all excited about his nxt film,, tats due for release. Very sad. Deepest Condolences to his family and friends. RIP (sic).”

Vijay was part of a popular theatre troupe called Sanchari before he tried his luck in movies. He debuted in 2011 with the film,  Rangappa Hogbitna. He was first noted for his role in Oggarane, which was directed by Prakash Raj. Following this, Vijay landed the lead role in Naanu Avanalla…Avalu. The title of the film translates to ‘I am not, I am a she.’ The film was based on Living Smile Vidya’s autobiography, I am Vidya. The book was adapted for the big screen and directed by filmmaker B. S. Lingadevaru.

Naanu Avanalla…Avalu showed the everyday hostility faced by the transgender community. Vijay played the role of a transgender woman, who is stigmatised, abused and exploited by a highly prejudiced society. His performance earned him his first National Award for acting.

The national recognition made him a household name in Karnataka. He continued to appear in supporting roles in films like director Ram Gopal Varma’s Killing Veerappan. He also carved out a niche for himself in parallel cinema. For instance, he played the male lead in Nathicharami. The film, about a woman’s hesitancy to seek an intimate relationship after the death of her husband, won five National Awards.

Vijay was last seen in ACT 1978, which was the first Kannada movie to release in theatres after lockdown restriction were lifted in 2020. Vijay had played a key role in the film.

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