Thiruvananthapuram: Popular Malayalam film actor N.L. Balakrishnan died late Thursday night, said family sources.
The 72-year-old actor began his career as a still photographer and was an integral part in projects of ace directors such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aravindan and John Abraham, all master's in the parallel cinema industry.
In a still photography career that began in 1967, he was part of close to 170 films and when he took to acting for the first time in 1986, he donned the grease paint in another 170 films.
"Dhaivethinte Swanthem Cleetus" starring Mammootty and released last year was his last film.
Balakrishnan was keeping unwell for quite some time and was in and out of hospital often.
He came out with flying colours in the roles which were offered to him, irrespective of the length of the roles.
Known for his simple lifestyle, Balakrishnan was always the centre of attraction in the shooting locations on account of his wit and humour.
The funeral will take place Friday evening.