Amaravati: The School of Communication at the University of Hyderabad has mourned the untimely demise of its alma mater and noted film critic, actor and Dalit intellectual Kathi Mahesh.
Mahesh (44), who was critically injured in a road mishap near Nellore on June 27, was shifted to the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, where he breathed his last on Saturday.
“We mourn the loss of Kathi Mahesh, MA Communication, Class of 1998-2000. A noted film critic, public intellectual, developmental activist, writer (fiction and non-fiction), translator, actor and filmmaker, Mahesh gained immense popularity and following in the Telugu public sphere in a very short span of time,” said an official statement issued by the School of Communication on Tuesday.
The media school highlighted that its student (Mahesh) presented his ideas in various formats on myriad platforms and said his passion for cinema compelled him to bid farewell to a lucrative career in the development sector, where he worked for globally reputed institutions.
The media school recollected Mahesh’s work as script consultant for many movies, including making the screen adaptation of Bala Gangadhara Tilak’s ‘Ooru Chivari Illu’ (House at the End of the Village) as ‘Edari Varsham’, a short film, as well as producing multiple documentaries.
“His work as co-writer for the movie ‘Egise Tarajuvvalu’ won laurels at many film festivals. It was also the first Telugu movie script to be preserved at the Oscar Library’s permanent core collection,” the school noted.
The University of Hyderabad alumnus gained much popularity after contesting in the Telugu version of ‘Bigg Boss’. He also acted in many Telugu movies.
“Kathi Mahesh, who is arguably the first TV film critic in the Telugu society, will be remembered for many decades to come for his ideological positions and articulations in cultural and political spheres in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” the statement said.
Vasuki Belavadi, professor and head of the School of Communication, said that Mahesh was an outspoken person who stood his ground even though some people disliked his views.
“A very knowledgeable person, Mahesh was in touch with the department even after he finished his course. We used to see him at our alumni meets without fail. The accident was a shock for us,” said Belavadi.
The professors, students and officials at the media school had hoped that Mahesh would recover with treatment and bounce back to doing what he did best, but that was not the case unfortunately.
Belavadi said the best this he liked about Mahesh was his fearlessness and how he always strived to enjoy his Constitutional rights.
“Suppose you make a statement and somebody threatens you, most people get into a shell and withdraw themselves. That fellow (Mahesh) was not like that. He was totally fearless,” he noted.
Belavadi termed Mahesh’s death as a personal loss and noted that his honest reviews exposing plagiarism in the Telugu film industry got him into trouble.