President shares condolences on demise of ‘filmmaker of rare sensitivity’ Kalpana Lajmi

The acclaimed filmmaker who had directed 'Rudaali' died early on Sunday at the age of 64.

Mumbai: Acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter Kalpana Lajmi, niece of the legendary Guru Dutt died on Sunday following a multiple organ failure at the age of 64. She was famous for making women-oriented films like Rudaali, Ek Pal, Daman and Chingaari.

“Extremely sorry to inform you that Kalpana Lajmi passed away this morning at 4.30 am,” the filmmaker’s spokesperson Parul Chawla told IANS.

Lajmi breathed her last at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital, where she was admitted in the intensive care unit since Tuesday due to kidney-related issues, the spokesperson added. The cremation took place at 12.30 pm at the Oshiwara crematorium.

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 in 1978.

Her feature film debut came with Ek Pal. Her last directorial was Chingaari, based on the novel The Prostitute and the Postman by the late Bhupen Hazarika, her long-time companion.

Lajmi had also penned a book, “Bhupen Hazarika: As I Knew Him”, on Hazarika. It was launch by Benegal and Lajmi’s mother, painter Lalita Lajmi.

The filmmaker, who was hospitalised at that time too, could not attend the event as her doctors had refused to allow her a long commute.

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.

Actress Raveena Tandon, who played the lead role as a battered wife in Daman, mourned Lajmi’s demise.

“You will be missed Kalpanaji. Was not your time to go… But may your heart now be at peace. Those days while shooting ‘Daman’ will be a treasured memory. Om Shanti.”

Actor Viveck Vaswani was shattered at the news of the death of his friend and colleague.

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta, who had worked with Lajmi as an editor when she made Darmiyaan, wrote: “Will always remember her with fondness and respect for being a fearless woman and a powerhouse of a person in a male dominated industry. Rest in Peace dear Kalpana.”

Actress Soni Razdan said, “Our dear beloved friend Kalpana Lajmi has gone to a better place. RIP my darling Kalpana. I shall miss you so terribly.”

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