Year-ender 2021: Stars and eminent personalities we lost this year

From CDS General Bipin Rawat to eminent sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra, the demise several bright stars left a deep void!

The year 2021 made us bear with countless losses with the demise of several distinguished personalities from various disciplines, adding to the devastations caused by COVID-19 second wave.

Even though few gems like Niraj Chopra and Pramod Bhagat gave us memories to cherish forever with their spectacular achievements on the world stage, many bright stars, including Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, legendary actor Dilip Kumar, ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh and renowned sculptor Padma Vibhushan Raghunath Mohapatra left us for the heavenly abode leaving a deep void that will not be filled anytime soon.

Though they are no longer with us , the legacies that they left behind will never be forgotten.

As the year nears to an end, let’s remember the iconic personalities, who bade farewell to this earthy world:

CDS General Bipin Rawat


Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), succumbed to injuries when an Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper carrying him and his wife along with 12 others crashed in Tamil Nadu on December 8. He was 63. General Rawat was on his way to Defence Staff College in Wellington to deliver a lecture, when the ill-fated chopper crashed at Coonoor in Nilgiris district at around 12.20 pm.

Dilip Kumar

Legendary actor Dilip Kumar, who ruled the Hindi cinema industry for over five decades, breathed his last on July 7 at Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai. He He passed at the age of 98 following a prolonged illness. His last film Qila released in 1998 after which he retired from acting.

Milkha Singh

Legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh, also known as the the Flying Sikh, passed away on June 18 due to COVID-19 complications. He was 91. The 1960 Rome Olympian had tested negative for the virus on June 17, following treatment. Born in Gobindpura (now in Pakistan) was the first Indian track and field athlete to win gold in the then British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958.

Rajiv Kapoor

Bollywood producer and actor Rajiv Kapoor, brother of Randhir and Rishi Kapoor,  passed away following cardiac arrest on February 9. He was 58. Following cardiac arrest, he was rushed to Inlaks Hospital in Chembur. However, doctors declared him brought dead.

Sidharth Shukla

The nation woke up to the shocking news of television heartthrob and Bigg Boss 13 winner Sidharth Shukla’s death on September 1.He was 40.  The actor, after suffering a massive heart attack in the morning, was rushed to Mumbai’s Cooper Hospital. Doctors at the hospital declared him brought dead.

Puneeth Rajkumar

Puneeth Rajkumar

A pall of gloom descended on south film industry when popular Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar, son of Kannada cinema legend Rajkumar, passed away following a massive heart attack on October 29. He was 46. Family sources had said Puneeth suffered a heart attack while working out in a gym  in morning hours and was later rushed to Vikram Hospital. However, doctors at the hospital declared him dead.

Surekha Sikri

Three-time National Award-winning actor Surekha Sikri, who became a household name for her character “Dadisa” in popular TV show Balika Vadhu, passed away on July 16 following a massive cardiac arrest in Mumbai. The actress was 75. Sikri, who debuted in 1978 with the film Kissa Kursi Ka, had been ailing after suffering her second brain stroke in September 2020. She was last seen in Netflix’s anthology ‘Ghost Stories’ (2020), directed by Zoya Akhtar.

Anupam Shyam

Veteran actor Anupam Shyam, who is known for his role in multiple television shows and films, passed away at the age of 63 on August 8. The actor, who was more recently known for his role ‘Thakur Sajjan Singh’ in the show Mann Ki Pratigya 2 died due to multiple organ failure. He had not been keeping well from last few years.

Amit Mistry

Pic Courtesy: Twitter

Known for his work in films like Shor In The City, Yamla Pagla Deewana, Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, Kya Kehna and in last year’s OTT show Bandish Bandits, actor Amit Mistry passed away on April 23 following cardiac arrest. He was in his mid-forties. Before breathing his last, the actor had shot for the  movie Bhoot Police released in September.

Rohit Sardana

Pic Courtesy: Twitter

Senior journalist and one of the top anchors of Hindi news channel ‘Aaj Tak’, Rohit Sardana  succumbed to COVID-19 on April 30.Sardana had joined Aaj Tak in 2017 after he left Zee News. He hosted debate show “Dangal” on Aaj Tak. A recipient of 2018 Ganesh Vidyarthi Puraskar Award, Sardana was one of the most popular faces of television journalism.

Vinod Dua

Veteran journalist Vinod Dua, who started off his journey with Doordarshan in the black and white era and went on to make his presence in digital space in the decades that followed, passed away on December 4. He was 67. Vinod Dua was one of the most prominent journalists on television. He is particularly remembered for his food show Zaika India ka.

Bikramjeet Kanwarpal

From being a retired army officer to emerging as an exceptional actor in both television and films, he excelled in every cap he donned. Bikramjeet Kanwarpal, who was an asset for the Bollywood industry, passed away on May 1 due to COVID-19 complications. He was 51.

After retiring from the Indian Army, Kanwarpal made his acting debut in 2000.He was part several popular films like Page 3, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Aarakshan, 2 State and The Ghazi Attack. He was also a part of popular television shows like Anil Kapoor-starrer 24, Adaalat and Diya Aur Baati Hum.

Brahma Mishra

mirzapur lalit

Brahma Swaroop Mishra, who immortalised Mirzapur character of ‘Lalit’ in pop culture, passed away on December 2, two days after he complained of chest pain and receiving a medication for gastric issues. The actor was found dead in the bathroom of his Mumbai residence.

Shravan Rathod 

Veteran music composer Shravan Rathod, of popular Nadeem-Shravan duo, succumbed to COVID-19 complications on April 22. He was 66. He was admitted to hospital in a critical condition after testing positive for the virus.

Tarak Sinha 

Renowned cricket coach and Dronacharya award winner Tarak Sinha died due to multiorgan failure on November 6 after battling with cancer for years. He was 71. Sinha trained players across generations for decades. Founder of Sonnet Cricket Club, Sinha coached cricketers like Surender Khanna, Randhir Singh, Raman Lamba, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma, KP Bhaskar, Atul Wassan, Ashish Nehra, Sanjeev Sharma, Aakash Chopra, Shikhar Dhawan, Anjum Chopra and Rishabh Pant.

Personalities from Odisha who breathed their last this year 

Nanda Prusty

Nanda Sir

Veteran teacher Padma Shri Nanda Kishore Prusty, a Class VIII pass-out, who had been educating children free of cost for the last seven decades, breathed his last on December 7. The 104-year-old teacher, fondly known as Nanda Master, received Padma Shri from President Ram Nath Kovind on November 9 for his contribution in the field of education and social service. Just before receiving the award, Prusty had raised both his hands to bless the, who also bowed his head with folded hands. The gesture had gone viral on social media.

Manoj Das

Veteran litterateur, editor and columnist Manoj Das passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Puducherry on April 27. He was 87. He was suffering from age-related ailments and being treated at the hospital for few months. Das was the foremost bilingual Odia writer and a master of dramatic expression both in his English and Odia short stories and novels.  Das was honoured with Saraswati Samman in 2000, Padma Shri in 2001 and Padma Bhusan in 2020 for his contribution in the field of literature and education.

Atal Bihari Panda

Veteran actor and Sala Budha fame Atal Bihari Panda passed away while undergoing treatment at VIMSAR in Burla on June 5. He was 92. Panda, who is known for his works in Sambalpuri films, was undergoing treatment for septicemia. The artiste has worked in over a hundred plays and written over 65 dramas, both in Odia and Koshali languages. He has also worked as a playwright in six operas. A native of Binika in Subarnapur district, Panda debuted in films at the age of 83 with ‘Sala Budha’. He won Odisha State Film awards back-to-back for his performance in Sala Budha and its sequel Aadim Vichar in 2013 and 2014, respectively

Rabi Mishra

Noted Odia actor and Gopala Rahasya fame Rabi Mishra passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital on January 20. He was admitted to the hospital following a cardiac arrest. The actor ruled the Odia film and television industries for over two decades. He acted in superhit films like Bhai Hela Bhagari, Sakala Tirtha, Soubhagyabati, Maa Pari Kie Haba, Rakhi Bhijigala Aakhi Luha Re, Mana Rahiagal Tumari Thare, Mukhyamantri, Dhauli Express and many more.

D. Prakash Rao

Noted social activist and tea seller Padma Shri D Prakash Rao passed away while undergoing treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital here on January 13. He was 63. The social worker died following a brain stroke. The social worker was conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2019 for providing education to children free of cost. He ran a school named Asha O Ashwasana in Buxi Bazaar area here to provide free education to slum kids from Class I to V.

Bijayashri Routray

Senior BJD leader and former Minister Bijayshree Routray succumbed to post-COVID complications at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on June 2. The six-time MLA was 67. Routray was elected to the state assembly six times from the Basudevpur seat — twice on the Janata Dal ticket and four times as a BJD candidate. Son of former Chief Minister Nilamani Routray, he joined politics in 1980 and was elected to the state Assembly for the first time in 1990. He has held several portfolios as a minister in Naveen Patnaik Government, including Health, Forest and Environment and Revenue.

Raghunath Mohapatra

Eminent sand Rajya Sabha MP Padma Vibhushan Raghunath Mohapatra lost his battle to COVID-19 on May 9. He was 78. Born in Puri on March 24, 1943, Mohapatra was honoured Padma Shri in 1976, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in 2013. Tragedy further struck the family after Mohapatra’s two sons also succumbed to the virus in next 11 days.

Bijay Sahoo 

Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, Chairman of SAI International School in Odisha capital, died of COVID-19 at a private hospital in Hyderabad on June 3. He was 58. He had tested positive for the virus and was airlifted to Hyderabad for advanced treatment at KIMS, Hyderabad. He was scheduled to be operated upon for lungs transplant. However, he breathed his last while undergoing treatment. Sahoo was also the adviser to Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan (OVAS), Government of Odisha.

Debasis Panigrahi 

Odisha Vigilance Director Debasis Panigrahi succumbed to COVID-19 while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kolkata, on June 18. The 1991 batch IPS officer was airlifted to the neighbouring state on June 8 as he required ECMO support after deterioration of his health condition. Born on August 29, 1965 in Balasore, Panigrahi was quite famous in bureaucratic circle for his literary works. He had assumed office as Director Vigilance in October 2017.

Guruprasad Mohapatra 

1986-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre and Secretary in Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Department Guruprasad Mohapatra passed away due to COVID-19 complications in New Delhi on June 19. He was 59. Mohapatra had played major role in several projects, including the Sabarmati Riverfront. Prior to taking over as DPIIT Secretary, Mohapatra served as the Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Kishore Rath

katakhya kishore

Eminent cartoonist Kishore Rath passed away at the age of 58 on November 8. He suffered heart attack and later breathed his last while undergoing treatment at Capital Hospital. Kishore Rath had become a household name in the state for his cartoon column ‘Katakhya’ published in leading Odia daily ‘Sambad’.

Arindam Das

The sudden demise of journalist Arindam Das during a rescue operation of an elephant at Mundali barrage in Cuttack, shook the entire state on September 24. The senior reporter of leading television channel Odisha Television Ltd, drowned while covering the rescue mission LIVE on an ODRAF boat, with the rescue personnel on it too. An alumnus of IIMC, Dhenkanal, Arindam had begun his journalistic journey from Odia daily Dharitri. After gaining sound reporting experience in print, he switched to television and joined OTV as its crime reporter.

Tapu Mishra

Popular Odia playback singer Tapu Mishra succumbed to COVID-19 while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on June 19. The 36-year-old vocalist, who had debuted in Odia movie Kulanandan, lent her melodious voice in over 150 movies. She had also sung many Bhajans during her career spanning over two decades.

Jagannath (Jaga) Rout

Popular Jatra artiste and comedian Jagannath (Jaga) Rout succumbed to COVID-19 while on April 27. He was 83. A native of Nimapada in Puri, Rout was associated with Jatra industry for the last 62 years. He worked with various troupes like Satasankha, Konark and Kalinga Gananatya. Rout, who joined the Jatra industry at the age of 35, acted in several superhit plays like Rajadhani Tate Duru Juhar, Na Kahile Kula Bhasi Jauchi, Akasha Kaian Chilika Macha, Kahalo Baula Kie To Bara and Kagaja Phula.

Ramakrushna Patnaik

A prominent political figure and former Minister Ramakrushna Patnaik, popularly known as Ganjam Tiger, passed away here on December 24. He was 81. A six-time MLA from the Kodala Assembly Constituency in Ganjam district, Patnaik had handled several important portfolios as a minister, including Finance, Rural Development and Agriculture. He was a Cabinet Minister in Biju Patnaik Government from 1990 to 1995. Later, he joined the Naveen Patnaik Government in 2000.

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