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Ambika Soni mourns Marathi actor Neelu Phule`s death

New Delhi, July 13: Marathi actor Neelu Phule passed away Monday morning in Pune after prolonged illness. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni condoled his death saying that the void created by his demise would be hard to fill.

Phule was one of the finest actors in performing arts, the minister said in a statement. She conveyed her condolences to the family of the veteran actor and said he would be long remembered for his strong social commitment apart from his contribution to Marathi theatre and movies.

Born in 1931, Phule is best remembered for his performance in Vijay Tendulkar`s famous play "Sakahram Binder". He began his film-career in 1968 with Anant Mane`s hit "Ek Gaon Bara Bhanagadi" and went on to act in nearly 250 Marathi and Hindi films.

Phule`s most memorable roles in Hindi films include "Saaransh", "Coolie" and "Mashal".

Phule was the only actor to win Maharashtra government`s best actor award consecutively for three years. He was also honoured by Sangeet Natak Akademi.

Phule was 78. He is survived by wife Rajani and daughter Gargi.