‘Rajinigandha’ director Basu Chatterjee dies in Mumbai

June 4 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 6/4/2020 9:43:38 AM IST

 Veteran filmmaker Basu Chatterjee, known for his relatable, light as soufflé brand of cinema with films such as “Rajnigandha” and “Chitchor”, died on Thursday following age related health issues. He was 93. 

Chatterjee, who is survived by his daughters Sonali Bhattacharya and Rupali Guha, died in his sleep at his Santacruz residence.

“He passed away peacefully in his sleep in the morning. He hadn’t been keeping well for quite a while due to old age problems and died at his residence. It’s a great loss for the film industry,” Ashoke Pandit, president of the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA), told PTI.

The last rites of the filmmaker, who blazed a middle-of-the-road trail in the 1970s and 1980s, were performed at the Santacruz crematorium.

“Only family members were present... around 10 people, including both the daughters and sons-in-law. I was there because I wanted to be part of his journey,” Pandit said.

Film industry, Prez, PM, VP, Mamta condole

Many people in the film industry and outside condoled the death of the director, who placed the middle class and its everyday joys and struggles at the centre of his cinematic world.

“In the passing of Shri Basu Chatterjee, the world of entertainment has lost a living legend. He will be remembered for his masterpieces like ‘Khatta Meetha’, ‘Rajnigandha’, ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’, ‘Rajani’ among others. My condolences to his family and friends,” President Ram Nath Kovind said on Twitter.

PM Modi remembered Chatterjee as a filmmaker whose cinema touched people’s hearts. “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 said. 

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said Chatterjee’s light-hearted films depicted various facets of the urban middle class. 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Saddened at the demise of legendary film director and screenwriter Basu Chatterjee. He gave us gems like ‘Chhoti Si Baat’, ‘Chitchor’, ‘Rajanigandha’, ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’, ‘Rajnigandha’ among others. Condolences to his family, friends, fans & the entire film fraternity.

Chatterjee began as a cartoonist in a tabloid but changed his career path after assisting Basu Bhattacharya in the Raj Kapoor-Waheeda Rehman starrer “Teesri Kasam”.

The two Basus along with Hrishikesh Mukherjee formed the Hindi cinema triumvirate whose ethos lay firmly in the middle class and its day-to-day struggles at a time when most of Bollywood was focused on larger-than-life stories of angst and tragedy led by Amitabh Bachchan.  

Sending his prayers and condolences, Bachchan described Chatterjee as quiet, soft spoken and gentle.

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