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Famous Gujarati film actor and music director Naresh Kanodia passed away this morning (27th October) in Ahmedabad at the U.N. Mehta Institute Of Cardiology And Research Centre due to COVID-19. He had tested positive for coronavirus some days back and was on ventilator in the hospital. He was 77 and is survived by his wife, a daughter and two sons, Hitu and Sooraj.

Naresh Kanodia’s elder brother, Mahesh Kumar Kanodia, had passed away just two days back, on 25th October. The two brothers were so close to each other that it seems, even Death could not do them apart! As music directors, the Mahesh-Naresh duo composed songs for a number of Gujarati films. In fact, Naresh, born to a poor mill worker, started out as a stage singer and dancer. The Mahesh-Naresh team became a super-successful musical team which performed a number of shows in India and abroad. Actually, Mahesh-Maresh were the first Gujarati music composers who performed stage shows abroad — in America, Africa and Asian countries.

Naresh Kanodia acted in more than a hundred Gujarati films, several of which were hits and super-hits. At one time, he was known as the superstar of Gujarati cinema. Not just a mass-appealing actor, Nareshbhai was also known as a fine human being. Nareshbhai started his career with the Gujarati film Veline Avya Phool in 1970. He played a small role in Jigar Ane Ami the same year. Among the many Gujarati films he worked in are Oonchi Medi Na Ooncha Mol, Laju Lakhan, Raj Rajvan, Kanku Ni Keemat, Meru Malan, Dhola Maru, Maa Baap Ne Bhulsho Nahi, Hiran Ne Kanthe, Halo Aapna Malak Ma, Jode Rejo Raj, Jagya Tyathi Sawaar, Kadla Ni Jod, Khodiyar Chhe Jogmaya, Laadi Laakhni Saaybo Sava Laakhno, Mare Todle Betho Mor, Mhari Laaj Rakhje Veera (made as a bilingual in Gujarati and Rajasthani; title of the Rajasthani version was Dharam Bhai), Prem Gori Taro Kem Kari Bhulay, Radiyali Raat, Raj Ratan,Saajan Haiye Sambhare, Saajan Tara Sambharna, Saayba Mora, Tahuke Saajan Sambhare, Tamere Champo Ne Ame Khel, Ooncha Khordana Khandani, Ujali Meraman, Vanjari Vav and Vat Vachan Na Ver. The entire Kanodia family (Naresh Kanodia, Mahesh Kumar Kanodia, Hitu, Sooraj and Mahesh Kumar’s daughter) has acted in just one film, Raj Ratan, written and directed by K. Amar (Danny). He had played a guest appearance in Rajasthani film Satwadi Raja Harishchandra (which again was made as a bilingual, the Gujarati version being titled Satyawadi Raja Harishchandra). A little-known fact about Mehul Kumar’s Meru Malan is that in Rajkot, it was released almost a decade after the all-time blockbuster, Sholay. While the multi-starrer Sholay, released in 70 mm at Rajkot’s Galaxy cinema, had yielded a distributor’s share of around Rs. 4,20,000, Mehul Kumar’s Meru Malan, starring Naresh Kanodia, fetched a share of double the amount from its run at Amrapali, Rajkot, that too in 35 mm. Interestingly, Sholay ran for 50 weeks while Meru Malan ran for 25 weeks. The above example underlines the bigness of Naresh Kanodia’s superstardom!

Naresh Kanodia was a member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly from 2002 to 2007.