A National award winning actor, the popular Malayali actor acted in more than 200 films before succumbing to liver and kidney-related ailments at a Kochi hospital at the age of 45.
Born on January 1, 1971, Mr Mani started his career as a mimicry artiste at the famous Kalabhavan centre for performing arts two decades ago. His first role was an auto-rickshaw driver in the Malayalam film Aksharam. Comic roles in Malayalam films followed.
1996's Sallapam in which he played Rajappan, the wicked toddy tapper, established him as a villain to reckon with. But it was his award-winning portrayal of a blind man in 1999's Vasantiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njanum that fetched Mr Mani widespread acclaim and a National Film Award.
Known his political leanings, philanthropic work and 'daily durbars,' there had been reports that the Communist Party of India-Marxist would field him from an assembly constituency from his home district Thrissur.
Mani is survived by wife and daughter. His death remains a mystery and is being investigated by Kochi City Police after registering a case of 'unnatural death' on the basis of a complaint.
With Inputs From Agencies