Veteran dance choreographer Raghuram passed away at his residence in Chennai on Saturday. He was 64.
The dance master, who was reportedly in good health, had a sudden cardiac arrest that led to his demise at 11.45am on Saturday. "He was talking to his wife Girija, when he died," choreographer Kala, who is also Raghuram's sister-in-law, told The Times of India.
Several members of the Tamil film fraternity including Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Bhagyraj, Shanthanu, director Balachander, Radhika Sarathkumar, Sivakumar, Radha Ravi, KS Ravikumar, Priyadarshan, Lizzy Priyadarshan, Mansoor Ali Khan, Mano Bala, Namitha, Prashanth, Chinni Jeyanth, Editor Mohan and Vivek among others paid their last respects to Raghuram at his residence. [To look at pictures, click here and here]
Raghuram made his Tamil film debut as a child artiste in "Padikatha Methai", starring Sivaji Ganesan and Sowcar Janaki. He had acted in a few films including "Aruna Giri Nadhar", "Thirumalai Deivam" and "Dasavatharam".
At age five, Raghuram learned Kathakali from his guru Gopinath. Two years later, he learned Bharatanatyam under the mentorship of KJ Sarasa. He worked as an assistant choreographer to dance director AK Chopra for MG Ramachandran's "Anbe Va".
In a career spanning five decades, Raghuram has worked with some of the biggest stars of Indian cinema including Sivaji Ganesan, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan. He has also produced and directed a few films in various languages.
He is survived by his wife Girija, daughters - Suja (former Television actress) and Gayathri (dance choreographer and actress).
The sudden demise of Raghuram had shocked the entire film fraternity. Several celebrities took to Twitter to express their condolences.
Siddharth: "Legendary dance choreographer Raghuram master has passed away. He leaves behind a spectacular lineage of dance & choreography. RIP sir."
Khushbusundar: "I have lost my guru in #Raghuram master..he taught me d finer nuances of dance..above everything else he was a family...so many memories :("
"Lost d count of how many times we must have spend d nite at his place as a gang..brinda,his daughters n bunch of cousins.."
Shanthnu Bhagyaraj: "RIP Raghuram master :( deep condolences"
Venkat Prabhu: "RIP Raghuram master. Deepest Condolences to the family. @gayathriraguram"
Radikaa Sarathkumar: "Saddened by raguram master's demise,he was a pillar of strength 2 his whole family.Was heartbreaking to see girija Akka ,his parents &family."
Dance Choreogrpaher Kalyan: "RIP Raghuram master.... A legend... Will miss u so much... Luv u always.. My deepest condolences to the family."
Nikesha Patel: "Never got to work with raghuram master...heard so much about him. Rip sir x"