After a prolonged wait of 14 days, Jadavpur police is ready to hand over the body of Mahendra Kumar, the cinematographer of Ritwik Ghatak.
“Officially, the body should be handed over to Kumar’s old friend and filmmaker Jojo Karlekar. Karlekar is out of station, on assignment. Most probably, we will take body and cremate it on October 21,” said Saibal Mitra, Kumar’s student at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute.
Kumar – who was unmarried - died on October 3 at his Golf Garden house and his body is still lying at the Katapukur morgue as no relatives claimed the body.
A group of Kumar’s students and friends approached the police officers who claimed that they have to undergo a legal procedure before handing over the body.
This would take time as the cops were tied up managing the city during Durga Puja.
On Friday, HT reported the development and on Saturday government formally appointed Atri Bhattacharya, principal cultural and information secretary, to take care of the matter.
“Meanwhile, we had also managed to find out a brother of Mahemdra Kumar who is based in Panipat. Kumar’s nephew (brother’s son) had sent all his credentials supporting his relation with Kumar and asked the police to hand over the body to Karlekar,” added Mitra.
Kumar had worked with the maestro in films such as ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’, `Komal Gandhar’, Subarnarekha’ and unfinished films ‘Bagalar Banga Darshan’ and `Ronger Golam’. He was 81.
Ghatak spotted Kumar playing harmonica in a Bhowanipore locality in the mid-1950s and took an instant liking for him. Kumar is from Himachal Pradesh and ran away from home as his foster parents did not treat him well. When `Subarnarekha’ was being shot, the producer walked out of the project midway. Kumar worked on advertisement films to raise money for the film’s completion.
He was also a part of two projects that were stalled when the filmmaker died in 1976. He was the still photographer in ‘Bagalar Banga Darshan’ and the cameraman in ‘Ronger Golam’.