Actor Ramesh Bhatkar dies of cancer

Ramesh Bhatkar was 70.

Popular film and TV actor Ramesh Bhatkar, known for his portrayal of a tough cop in Marathi detective serials in the 1990s, as well as of a romantic hero in family dramas, died on Monday after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 70.

Bhatkar was cremated at the Shivaji Park crematorium in Mumbai. Bhatkar is survived by his wife, Bombay High Court Justice Mridula Bhatkar and their son Harshvardhan.

His close relatives said he had been fighting cancer for about a year. "He fought bravely, as much as he could. But, in the last one month, he was in tremendous pain and we were all worried. He was in the ICU for the last 15 days," said actor Jaywant Wadkar.

Bhatkar worked in more than 100 movies and over 50 plays. He was known for his work in TV serials such as Commander, Hello Inspector and Damini that were aired on Doordarshan's Marathi service DD Sahyadri in 1990s. He made his debut with the Marathi movie Chandoba Chandoba Bhaglaas in 1977. He went on to work in AshtaVinayak (1978), Duniya Kari Salam (1979), Maaherchi Manasa (1984), and Maherchi Sadi (1991).

His memorable plays include Ashrunchi Jhali Phule, Kevatari Pahate, Akher Tu Yeshilach and Rahu Ketu. In 2018, Bhatkar was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Theatre Meet.

Minister of Higher and Technical Education Vinod Tawde said, "The industry has lost the commander of the actors."