Film fraternity woke up to the sad news of veteran actor Reema Lagoo’s death on Thursday morning. The 59-year-old, who played mother to several leading stars in films, in her career spanning almost four decades, died of a cardiac arrest in Mumbai. Besides films, Reema also worked in some iconic TV shows — the most recent being Naamkarann, which is inspired by the 1998 film Zakhm, based on filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s life.
“All I can say is that she was an extraordinary actor, undoubtedly, but she was an even better human being,” says Bhatt, who has conceptualized the show.
We said goodbye to one another after making a promise to meet soon. That never happened . We think we have time.We don't!!Goodbye Reemaji.— Mahesh Bhatt (@MaheshNBhatt) May 18, 2017
Bhatt reveals that he was to meet Reema on the sets of the show, but he regrets that it couldn’t happen. “It’s ironic that in the last exchange, I had sent her a TED Talk. This talk was about a guy, who survived a plane crash, in which he implores the world to do whatever they want to do, now and not tomorrow because none of us is assured about a tomorrow. After watching this talk, Reema sent me a message, which said, ‘Thank you for sending me this talk. It’s timely and it was much needed.’” shares Bhatt, adding that he was busy with the release of his film, so he couldn’t meet Reema on the sets, as he used to, often. “She was looking forward to this meeting, and so was I. But alas, that did not happen. We often think we have time, but the fact is, we don’t. It is, indeed, tragic that she is no more. We think we have time but the fact is we don’t,” says Bhatt.
Recalling his professional association with the actor, Bhatt adds, “Reema began her journey with me in the world of movies with Aashiqui (1990), in which she played the role of a single parent [to Rahul Roy], who lives her life with great dignity even after he husband abandons her. In Gumrah (1993), which was produced by Dharma Productions, she played the role of Sridevi’s mother. And how can I forget the extraordinary part she played as Naseeruddin Shah’s secret beloved in Naajayaz (1995).”
After a long gap, Bhatt and Reema resumed their association last year, with Naamkarann, a daily soap, which is aired on Star Plus. “Reema had almost pushed herself into oblivion. She was hesitant to resume her relationship with the entertainment world and was unwilling to get herself out of that self-imposed exile. I begged her to play the part of Dayavanti Mehta, which was in fact, the heartbeat of the show. At first, she hesitated because she realised how much doing daily soaps draw out of you. “I will only accept this challenge, if you promise to oversee the writing and what happens on the sets, on a day to day basis.” When I assured her that I would, there was no looking back,” says Bhatt.
All praise for the late actor, Bhatt recalls how Reema committed herself to the show completely. “She shot for 8 to 10 hours every day without ever complaining. Her co-stars told me that she was glowing when she left the set the night before she passed away.”
Thanking the actor for adding so much to his films, Bhatt signs off, saying, “As I showered rose petals at the feet of her mortal remains, I realised how fortunate I had been to meet this wonderful lady, who was far more talented than the roles the industry offered to her. I am grateful to life that our paths crossed and she touched me so deeply and left an indelible mark in my heart forever.”
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