The demise of veteran Bollywood filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi is a loss to the film industry. Assam which had a special connection with Lajmi fondly remembers her association with the people of the state. Lajmi will be remembered for her powerful women centric films. Besides some of her works, she has also been a long-term partner to Assam's cultural icon Dr Bhupen Hazarika till the latter died in 2011. Many who were close to Lajmi remembered her sacrifice to make Hazirika's life better.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that her contribution to Indian cinema will be remembered. "Her untimely death will definitely create a void in the film industry which will be difficult to be filled. Kalpana Lajmi had inseparable connection with the cultural life of the state. She along with Bhupen Hazarika produced several timeless creations which enriched the celluloid world of the country. Her contribution to Indian cinema will be remembered forever," Sonowal said recently. Some of her films represented the socio-cultural milieu of Assam in the national scene. Niece of the legendary Indian filmmaker Guru Dutt and daughter of renowned painter Lalita Lajmi, Kalpana would be fondly remembered for her films like 'Rudaali', 'Daman', 'Ek Pal', 'Darmiyaan' and 'Chingari'.
Film scholar and researcher Parthajit Baruah said that Kalpana Lajmi had a unique identity as one of the best women filmmakers of India who projected the usually unheard voices of women. "The cinematic beauty and the socially relevant themes of her films have proved her a filmmaker with rare sensitivity. Her association with Bhupen Hazarika as a partner produced a mutual exchange of creativity to take Assamese life and culture to the national map. Her untimely demise has created a great void in the realm of Indian cinema," Baruah who has authored the biography of the master filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan 'Face to Face - The Cinemas of Adoor Gopalakrishnan' said.
For those who knew her personally described her as a strong and honest individual who was always straightforward. "What I can remember is she was an extremely honest individual. She loved Bhupen mama (Hazarika) genuinely and took utmost care even at the worst times. It's because of her or else we would have lost Bhupen mama at least by 15 years before," Mumbai based Assamese filmmaker Bidyut Kotoky said. Urmila Mahanta who acted in 'Pad Man' said that people of Assam will always be indebted to Kalpana Lajmi for her support to Bhupen Hazarika. "I will always remember her as an unconventional fighter, strong headed, determine by her will to live her life on her own terms and conditions. As an Assamese we are indebted to her for her companionship and support to our very own Bhupen da in all means," Urmila said.
A 17 year-old Lajmi met Hazarika who was 45 then in 1971 for the first time when she was studying psychology at St Xavier's College in Mumbai. Hazarika was scoring music for 'Aarop', a film directed by Lajmi's uncle Atma Ram. After that Lajmi has always stood by him in some of his worst phases of life. For many who knew them closely said that Lajmi sacrificed everything to make Hazarika's life better.
Her memoir 'Bhupen Hazarika: As I Knew Him', which was released recently, records many unknown facets of their relationship.
Lajmi had to undergo a tough phase during the last days as media reports suggest that Lajmi died penniless and her medical bills - around Rs 2.5 lakh a week - were borne by actress Alia Bhatt and her mother Soni Razdan among other Bollywood celebrities including Salman and Aamir Khan, who were Lajmi's close friends.