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Veteran filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi passes away at 64- Cinema express

Veteran filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi passes away at 64

Lajmi is remembered as one of the pioneering female voices of Indian Parallel Cinema, whose films tackled subjects of women-empowerment, domestic violence and social inclusion

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Published: 23rd September 2018

Veteran filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi passed away aged 64 at Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital at 4.30 am today. 

"She had a kidney failure some years ago and was surviving on dialysis. What caused her demise was liver fibrosis. It is a condition that often accompanies kidney ailments. Kalpana was a dear friend of mine and a very talented and unique director. Her health had deteriorated considerably over the past few years," says actor-director Soni Razdan.

Born in 1954,  Lajmi was the niece of filmmaker Guru Dutt and the daughter of painter Lalita Lajmi. She began her film career as an assistant director and costume designer for Shyam Benegal. Her first feature film as a director was the 1986 film Ek Pal starring Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi. Her second, Rudaali (1993), based on a Bengali short story by Mahasweta Devi, was submitted as India's official entry to the 66th Academy Awards. For her role in the film, actor Dimple Kapadia was honoured with a National Film Award for Best Actress. In 1997, Lajmi directed the social drama film Darmiyaan: In Between. The film starred Kirron Kher, Tabu and Arif Zakaria. 

Through the 2000s, Lajmi directed three films with varying success; these included the Raveena Tandon-starrer Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence (2001), the unnoticed crime-drama Kyon? (2003), and the commercial failure Chingaari (2006).

Lajmi is remembered as one of the pioneering female voices of Indian Parallel Cinema. Her films tackled subjects of women-empowerment, domestic violence, and social inclusion. Lajmi's relationship with musical maestro Bhupen Hazarika, who passed away in 2011, became the subject of her book Bhupen Hazarika: As I Knew Him, which was released earlier this year.

"Kalpana was actually planning to make a film based on her book. She already had producers and actors in place. She was trying hard to recover and initiate the project. As a director, she was always motivated to get back on set. It is a very sad day for the film fraternity and everyone who admired her," adds Razdan. 

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