A maverick filmmaker like Yash Chopra, a superstar like Rajesh Khanna, character artists like Achala Sachdev and AK Hangal and famous cinematographer Ashok Mehta — it was almost as if God was planning his own movie in heaven this year.
Here’s a look at the lives of those who regaled the audiences in their own unique ways through the film industry but left for their heavenly abode this year.
He gave stars like Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra their first big breaks with Deewana and Andaaz, respectively. Kanwar, who also directed Judaai, Jeet, Badal and Laadla, breathed his last in Singapore before he could undergo a kidney transplant. He was in his early 50s.
Known as the Bengali candy, this Bollywood charmer of the 1960s became popular through movies like Love In Simla, Love In Tokyo and Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon. One of the best-lookingIndian actors of his times, Mukherjee losthis life to Thalassemia in Mumbai. He was 73.
Bollywood’s quintessential onscreen mother Achala Sachdev’s life came to an end after six months of being bedridden at a Pune hospital. The actor, especially known for her role in 1965 film, Waqt, where she was part of the legendary song Ae meri zohra jabeen, made her last appearance in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. She played mother to Amitabh Bachchan in the film.
She was hardly 14 and lost her life in a plane crash in Nepal. Popular for appearing in a lineup of Rasna commercials, little Taruni is also remembered for playing the role of Amitabh Bachchan’s cute classmate in Paa. She was very talented, and had even featured in two Malayalam films — Vellinakshatram (2004) and Sathyam (2004).
He made a rare transition from the wrestling ring to the big screen and tasted success as the Iron Man of Bollywood. He played numerous characters and endeared himself to several fans, who enjoyed his presence in over 140 films, including Anand, Mera Naam Joker and the much-loved Jab We Met. He breathed his last
following a brief illness. He was 84.
Women looked up to him as the “epitome of romance. India’s first superstar, Rajesh Khanna, fondly remembered as Kaka, succumbed to a liver infection at the age of 69. He knew it was time to “pack up” and his funeral procession, attended by thousands of fans, was proof of the adulation he had amassed over the years through movies such as Aradhana, Do Raaste, Safar and Anand.
One of India’s best known cinematographers, Ashok Mehta became an informidable name in the film industry, given his filmography of evocative projects like Bandit Queen, 36 Chowringhee Lane, Paroma, and Utsav. He won the National Film Award for Best Cinematography twice in 1981 and in 2000. He worked both with directors of mainstream Bollywood as well as unconventional cinema. He suffered from advanced lung cancer. He was 65.
At 96, would you think of being on the fashion runway? Such was his zest for life that AK Hangal did that (in 2011). He died at 97 — but only after over four decades of entertaining Hindi movie viewers with about 200 films such as Shaukeen, Sholay, Bawarchi, Abhimaan and Guddi. He was in penury towards his last few years, and was even unable to pay his mounting medical bills. But his passion for his art remained unaffected.
Hailed as King of Romance, filmmaker Yash Chopra gave Bollywood chiffon saris and international shooting locations and almost taught youngsters how to romance through his love sagas like Daag, Kabhi Kabhie, Chandni and Lamhe. He made socially relevant films such as Dhool Ka Phool and Waqt too, and finished his last movie, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, just in time before dengue and an ensuing multi-organ failure took this beloved filmmaker’s life. He was 80.
He spread laughter all through his life, but left behind many in tears when he lost his life in a car accident in Punjab. He was 57. Bhatti, perhaps the most famous Sikh comedian, loved humour and satire and began his tryst with these during his college days itself. Who can forget his show Ulta-Pulta or the insanely funny Flop Show? This comedy star, who even featured in Bollywood films such as Kuch Naa Kaho and Fanaa, was a hit all the way.