Heralded thesp starred in 'Daayra'

Acclaimed Indian actor Nirmal Pandey passed away Thursday following a heart attack. He was 48.

After graduating from India’s National School of Drama, Pandey had a stint in London with theatre group Tara. His big film break came with Shekhar Kapur’s “Bandit Queen” (1994). His most acclaimed role was in 1996’s “Daayra” (“The Square Circle”) where he played a transvestite. Uniquely, he won the best actress award at France’s Valenciennes Film Festival for the film, which he shared with female lead Sonali Kulkarni. The film was deemed too bold by the Indian censor board and did not receive a release in the country.

“Daayra” producer Pravesh Sippy told Variety: “I will miss him. Unfortunately, India has not seen his best ever performance in my film “Daayra”. He was simply terrific and deserved every award won for his performance in the film.”

Pandey’s performance was also highly praised in films like “Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin” (1996), “Train to Pakistan” (1998) and “Godmother” (1999). His last film “Lahore” is due a March release.

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