Mumbai: Filmmaker and screenwriter Kalpana Lajmi, niece of the legendary Guru Dutt and acclaimed for making women-oriented films like “Rudaali”, “Ek Pal, “Daman” and “Chingaari”, died here on Sunday following a multiple organ failure at the age of 64. “Extremely sorry to inform you that Kalpana Lajmi passed away this morning at 4.30 a.m.,” the filmmaker’s spokesperson Parul Chawla told IANS on Sunday.
Lajmi breathed her last at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital here, where she was admitted in the intensive care unit since Tuesday due to kidney-related issues, the spokesperson added.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal paid condolences, as did a slew of well-known names like Hansal Mehta, Nandita Das, Soni Razdan and Raveena Tandon from the film industry.
Lajmi’s cremation took place on Sunday afternoon at the Oshiwara crematorium. Mahesh Bhatt, Soni Razdan, Shabana Azmi and Shyam Benegal were among those who were present.
Soni, who was her close friend, said: “Our dear beloved friend Kalpana Lajmi has gone to a better place. RIP my darling Kalpana. I shall miss you so terribly.” Lajmi had been undergoing dialysis for a couple of years, and true to her indomitable spirit, had said in an interview last year: “My kidneys have failed, but I haven’t.”
She had forayed into filmdom as an assistant director under renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal, following which she made her directorial debut with a documentary film “D.G. Movie Pioneer” based on Bengali filmmaker Dhiren Ganguly in 1978. Known for fearless filmmaking with women in strong roles, Lajmi’s 1993 Dimple Kapadia-starrer “Rudaali” was even chosen as India’s official entry to the 66th Academy Awards.
Lyricist and censor board chief Prasoon Joshi described Lajmi as “a seeker looking for more questions than just answers”. Actor Ranvir Shorey remembered her as “a warm and affectionate human being who made a huge contribution to socially relevant cinema in India”. (IANS)