Music maestro Bhupen Hazarika has bequeathed a major portion of his properties and assets to long time companion Kalpana Lajmi, giving her credit for the rise in his career graph. But the decision has irked his family members who are crying foul.
"Kalpana Lajmi is my business partner since 1977 and she took the entire and whole responsibility for my tremendous career rise and prior to her joining me I was penniless and had only Rs.35 in hand," the legendary 85-year-old singer said in a registered will, a copy of which is available with IANS.
"She (Kalpana) has looked after me sincerely and carefully since 1977 even while I was ill, in distressed condition, mentally depressed condition, which no one else has done."
There is no formal confirmation about the two having got married. There is an age gap of about 28 years between the two.
Among the movable and immovable assets bequeathed to Kalpana are film and television companies, bank accounts and personal company accounts, investments, cash, gold, jewellery and properties in both India and the rest of the world.
"I could not have emerged unscathed from my distressed and bad times without the sincere help and cooperation of Kalpana Lajmi and as such after my death she will be the sole owner of both my movable and immovable properties as well as those which will be purchased in future," Hazarika's 'will' signed Dec 12, 2003, read.
"I hereby revoke all the wills, codicils, and other testamentary disposition made by me hereto and declare this to be my last will and testament."
So what are the major assets willed to Kalpana?
"All professional equipment from film and sound, the flat at 77 B, Gold Club Road, Kolkata, flat at Andheri (West), Mumbai, two plots of land measuring 1,240.01 sq metres in Pune, existing bank accounts, my pension money, car, rights and receipts of sales both in cash and cheque of film and television software made by me," the will said.
Interestingly, the will mentions that in the event of Kalpana predeceasing him, the properties and other assets would go to her mother Lalitha G. Lajmi.
"In case she (Kalpana) predeceases me, all that is mentioned herein will be after my death given to her mother Lalitha G. Lajmi and after her death (the properties) will belong to her son Devdas G. Lajmi," states Hazarika's will.
The will, however, also mentions some joint properties shared among his brothers and sisters, besides some assets willed to his 59-year-old son Punnag Tej Hazarika based in New York from his estranged wife Priyamvada Patel Hazarika now settled in Canada.
The content of the 'will' by the musical legend has angered some of his immediate family members.
"I cannot imagine Bhupenda being penniless in 1977 as mentioned in the 'will' as by then he was already a star and a hero having won National Awards," Hazarika's younger brother Nripen said.
"I believe the will was made under pressure or influenced by someone."
Similar views were echoed by other family members.
"The will mentions about some of our joint properties being bequeathed to us. How can Bhupenda will us those properties which technically or legally are not his," questioned Samar Hazarika, a well-known singer and younger brother of the Dadasaheb Phalke award winner.
The will, however, would come into effect and can be executed only after the death of the internationally acclaimed singer, lyricist, filmmaker, and one of India's best-known balladeers.
Hazarika has composed soulful music for films like "Rudaali", "Saaz" and "Gajagamini".