MUMBAI, Sept 23 - Critically acclaimed filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi, who was suffering from kidney ailment, passed away early Sunday morning at a hospital here. She was 64. Lajmi was the daughter of painter Lalita Lajmi and niece of legendary filmmaker Guru Dutt. Her brother, Dev Lajmi confirmed the news of her death.
“She passed away at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital at 4:30 am. She was suffering from chronic kidney disease and liver failure. She was on dialysis. She has been in and out of the hospital for three years,” Dev told PTI.
The last rites of Lajmi were performed at Oshiwara Crematorium here amidst a gathering of close friends and family members.
From the Hindi film industry, actors Shabana Azmi, Soni Razdan and director Shyam Benegal, who is also Lajmi’s uncle, paid their last respects to the filmmaker. A wreath was sent by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to pay respects to her.
Lajmi debuted as an assistant director under Shyam Benegal. She went on to work as an assistant costume designer in Benegal’s Bhumika: The Role (1977), starring Smita Patil, Amol Palekar and Naseeruddin Shah, among others.
“She was a niece of mine. She was a very fine filmmaker. She went through a long period of illness, it is tragic. She was much young to go,” Benegal said.
Lajmi made her directorial debut with the documentary, D.G. Movie Pioneer in 1978.
Known for making fiery films with women at the core of her stories, her filmography boasts of movies like Ek Pal, Rudaali, Daman, Darmiyaan and Chingaari (2006), her last directorial.
Rudaali (1993), featuring Dimple Kapadia in the lead, was India’s official entry for Best Foreign Language film at the 66th Academy Awards. It also went on to win three National Film Awards, including Best Actress for Kapadia, Best Art Direction for Samir Chanda and Best Costume Design for Simple Kapadia.
The director, who was going through a financial crisis, was supported by several celebrities from the film industry in her final days, including Soni Razdan, Alia Bhatt, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Karan Johar and Neena Gupta.
She penned a book Bhupen Hazarika – As I Knew Him on the veteran singer and her long-time companion, which she was planning to adapt on big screen.
Chingaari, starring Sushmita Sen, was also based on Hazarika’s novel The Prostitute and the Postman. – PTI