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.
'It's a great loss to the industry'
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)"
Chatterjee made his debut with 'Sara Akash' in 1969
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.
He was among the trailblazers of "middle cinema"
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.
For TV, he directed 'Rajani' and 'Byomkesh Bakshi'
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.
Chatterjee is survived by two daughters
"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.
The country mourns the loss of a legend
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.
PM Narendra Modi mourned the loss
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.