Legendary filmmaker Basu Chatterjee passes away at 90
Legendary film director and screenwriter Basu Chatterjee, known for his realistic and groundbreaking movies such as Rajnigandha, Chitchor, Baton Baton Mein, and Ek Ruka Hua Faisla, passed away on Thursday in Mumbai, due to age-related ailments. He was 90 years old. His last rites will be held at Mumbai's Santacruz cremation ground today. May his soul rest in peace.
Indian Film & TV Directors' Association President Ashoke Pandit tweeted the unfortunate news. He wrote, "I am extremely grieved to inform you all of the demise of Legendary Filmmaker Basu Chatterjee ji... It's a great loss to the industry. Will miss you Sir. (sic)"
Born in Ajmer, British India, Chatterjee started his career as an illustrator and cartoonist. Known for his penchant for telling stories of the common man, he debuted in the film industry with Sara Akash, which he wrote and directed. He went on to make acclaimed movies like Piya Ka Ghar, Us Paar, Chhoti Si Baat, Khatta Meetha, and Kamla Ki Maut, among others.
Chatterjee, along with fellow stalwarts like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, was considered to be a trailblazer of what came to be known as "middle-of-the-road" cinema. Through a career spanning four decades, the veteran collaborated with superstars Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, and Mithun Chakraborty. But his films always stood out for their realistic tones, more so because the 70s was the era of action movies in Bollywood.
He also directed two popular television series for Doordarshan, namely Rajani (1985) and Byomkesh Bakshi (1993 and 1997). The latter, a cult classic detective show, was recently re-telecast on TV during the lockdown. Chatterjee received various awards, including a National Film Award for Durga, an IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award, and several Filmfare awards for movies like Swami, Chhoti Si Baat and Kamla Ki Maut.
"I belonged to a middle-class family. That's the life I know. That's why there was nothing larger-than-life about my films," Chatterjee had once said. He is survived by two daughters, Sonali Bhattacharya and Rupali Guha.
As the news of Chatterjee's passing came to fore, fans from across the country as well as political leaders and celebrities took to social media to offer condolences and pay tribute to the legend. Veteran actor Shabana Azmi tweeted that she was "deeply saddened" to hear the news and considered herself fortunate to have done a number of films with the late director.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the loss through a tweet. He wrote, "Sad to hear of the demise of Shri Basu Chatterjee. His works are brilliant and sensitive. It touched people's hearts and represented the simple and complex emotions, as well as struggles of people." "Condolences to his family and innumerable fans. Om Shanti," he added.
Sad to hear of the demise of Shri Basu Chatterjee. His works are brilliant and sensitive. It touched people's hearts and represented the simple and complex emotions, as well as struggles of people. Condolences to his family and innumerable fans. Om Shanti.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 4, 2020
Saddened at the demise of legendary film director and screenwriter Basu Chatterjee. He gave us gems like 'Chhoti Si Baat', 'Chitchor', 'Rajanigandha', 'Byomkesh Bakshi', 'Rajni' among others. Condolences to his family, friends, fans the entire film fraternity— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) June 4, 2020
T 3552 - Prayers and Condolences on the passing of Basu Chatterjee .. a quiet, soft spoken, gentle human .. his films reflected the lives of middle India .. did 'MANZIL' with him .. a sad loss .. 🙏— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) June 4, 2020
.. in these climes often remembered for 'rim jhim gire saawan'
A director who was always ahead of his time.. Basu Chatterjee will be truly missed. He was an effortless genius and an amazing human being. May he rest in peace 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/QShAojouPJ— Anil Kapoor (@AnilKapoor) June 4, 2020