Bhubaneswar: Odia film actor Sarat Pujari died at his rented house here early Monday, his family said. He was 80.
"He suffered a massive cardiac arrest at about 12.30 a.m.," his son Soumen Pujari, who is also an actor said.
Sarat is survived by his wife, two daughters and two sons. His last rites would be performed at the temple town of Puri, about 55 km from Bhubaneswar, later in the day.
He entered the Odia film industry in 1958 while serving as a teacher in a private college in western Odisha. He acted in about 50 films.
Some of the famous Odia films in which Pujari acted as a hero include ‘Tapoi’, ‘Asanta Graha’, ‘Astaraga’ and ‘Sadhana’.
Although these films were not commercially successful, they dwelt on the plight of farmers and reflected Odisha's culture and traditions.
Sarat retired as principal of state-run Sangeta Natak Mahavidyalaya in Bhubaneswar in 1994.
His last film 'Pooja Pain Phulatie' was released in 2007. It had bagged National Award for best feature film in Odia.
Besides films, he was closely associated with social work.
"His death has created a void in both film industry and social sector which cannot be filled up," said Ranjan Mohanty, secretary of People's Cultural Centre, an NGO.
He was active until his death.
"On Sunday itself, he went to witness a drama in Rabindra Mandap, a city hall," Mohanty said.
Sarat was very clear about the projects he wanted to do.
In an interview in 2007, Sarat said: "I never act in a film if I don't like the story. That is why I never acted in many films even though I was offered a role."