2017 | In Memoriam
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
― Thomas Campbell
This year, the world of cinema lost revolutionary filmmaker Kundan Shah, legendary actors like Om Puri, Shashi Kapoor, Reema Lagoo and Vinod Khanna and writer, director and actor Neeraj Vohra. These names have become synonyms to artistic excellence and even though we have lost these gems of the Indian film Industry in 2017, they will always be remembered for their work and their contributions to Indian Cinema, for years to come.
Om Puri’s death on 6th January 2017, took not just the Indian film industry, but the world of cinema by surprise. A weather beaten looking but a versatile actor, Puri had a long career divided largely between Bollywood and Hollywood. His Hindi hits included the political comedy Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, the Macbeth-inspired drama Maqbool, the action romp Singh is Kinng and Chachi 420. Some of his best international works include east is east, the Reluctant Fundamentalist, City of Joy and the Hundred Foot Journey. His commercial breakthrough came in the national award winning tough drama Ardh Satya, in which he was a conscientious young cop confronting Indian corruption. In recent times, the national school of drama graduate mourned the paucity of complex parts in Indian cinema such as those in Aakrosh and Arohan.
Even though he had a troubled marriage and a tough life towards the end, Puri continued acting. His final film was Konkana Sen Sharma’s A Death in the Gunj. More than just an actor, Puri was critical of the government and was outspoken about the issue of banning Pakistani artists in India.
Veteran Bollywood actor, politician and former union minister Vinod Khanna passed away on 27th April 2017, after being hospitalized for over a month due to cancer. The actor was last seen in Dilwale (2015).
Khanna played lead roles in many films and is best remembered for his performances in Mere Apne, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Kuchhe Dhaage, Gaddaar, Imtihaan, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Inkaar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Rajput, The Burning Train, Qurbani, Kudrat, Parvarish, Khoon Pasina, Dayavan, Chandni and Jurm. In 1982, at the peak of his film career, Khanna temporarily quit the film industry to follow his spiritual guru Osho Rajneesh. After a 5-year hiatus, he returned to the Hindi film industry with two hit films; Insaaf and Satyamev Jayate.
As a mark of respect to Vinod Khanna the entire team of Baahubali decided to cancel the premiere of the film on the night of his death.
Veteran Actress Reema Lagoo was an Indian theatre and screen actress, known for her roles in blockbusters like ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ (1989), ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’ (1994) and ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ (1998) passed away on 18 May 2017.
The actress was well known for playing motherly roles both in Bollywood and the Marathi film industry and earned much acclaim for her strong performances. She began her career on Marathi stage. However, she received wider recognition with roles in television serials, Hindi and Marathi films. She debuted in films in 1979 with the Marathi film Sinhasan.
Inder Kumar was an Indian actor best known for playing supporting roles in Hindi films such as Wanted, Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge, Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi.
On 28 July 2017, Inder Kumar died after suffering a cardiac arrest at his residence in Four Bungalows neighborhood of Andheri in Mumbai around 12.30 am and he was officially announced dead by 4 am.
Sitaram Panchal was an Indian actor known for his roles in Slumdog Millionaire, Peepli Live,The Legend of Bhagat Singh and Jolly LLB 2. He passed away 10 August 2017 after a 10 Months battle with kidney and lung cancer.
Even though he was an acclaimed actor he suffered from financial crisis. He was suffering from kidney and lung cancer. Haryana Government gave ₹5 lakh in financial help to the actor. CINTAA have also put out a plea to gather help for Panchal.
Shakila was an actress, best known for her roles in Guru Dutt’s films: Aar Pa5ar (1954) and C.I.D. (1956). She also starred with Shammi Kapoor in Shakti Samanta’s China Town (1962). She also had worked beautifully in films like Post Box 999. She was married twice. Her husband’s name is Johny Barber. She retired from cinema in 1963, when she married and decided to move to the United Kingdom with her husband who was not from the film industry. She had a daughter with him named Meenaz, who died in 1991. Shakila’s sister Noor (short for Noorjehan) was married to Johnny Walker. She died on 20 September 2017 at the age of 82 due to a heart attack.
The famous song “Babuji Dheere Chalna” from Aar Paar was filmed on her.
Thomas Beach Alter was an Indian actor. He is best known for his work in Hindi cinema and the Indian theatre.
In September 2017, Alter was diagnosed with Stage IV skin cancer. He died on 29 September at his residence in Mumbai. A statement released on behalf of his family read: “It is with sadness we announce the death of our beloved Tom Alter, actor, writer, director, Padma Shri, and our dear husband and father. Tom passed away Friday night at home with his family and close family members in attendance. We ask for their privacy to be respected at this time.”
Kundan shah ushered in a revolution in Indian television with his serials Circus, Nukkad and Wagle Ki Duniya. He not only gave a platform and mentored young filmmakers to hone their talents, but also gave a break to the Badshah of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan in circus and his film Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na. But what cemented his stature as one of the greatest Indian filmmakers was the 1983 cult classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, a brutal satire and rollicking slapstick that Hindi cinema had never seen before.
A graduate from the film and television institute of India, Kundan Shah’s works have a streak of comedy-of a varied kind. Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra says that he could capture grace in nonsense, something that was evident even in the 23 minute comic-gangster short Bonga-his diploma film.
But the humor was not for laughs alone. It was used to underline the highly cynical view of the absurdist reality, where justice, goodness and honesty don’t necessarily triumph over evil. These few films and a few TV serials make up some of his best work, for if the industry wasn’t so cruel and cutthroat, we would have seen a lot more of Kundan Shah.
Shyama was an Indian film actress. Her best known roles were in Aar Paar (1954), Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) and Tarana. She was also noticed for her versatility through her performances in Milan, Bhai-Bhai (1956), Mirza Sahiban (1957), Bhabhi (1957) and Sharda, for which she was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was the actress in late 50s who has been most responsive to the rhythm and lyrics of the music directors and poets. Songs picturised on her such as “Ae Dil Mujhe Bata De”, “O Chand Jahan Wo Jaye”, “Ae Lo Main Hari Piya”, “Dekho, Wo Chand Chhup Ke Karata Hai Kya Ishare”, “Chhupa Ke Meri Aankhon Ko”, Sun Sun Zalima and “Ja Re Ka Re Badara” are examples of her sensitive acting. She did a double role in Do Bahen (1959), portraying twins who were completely different in character.
She died on 14th November 2017. She was 82. The funeral will take place at Mumbai’s Marine Lines this afternoon.
Shashi Kapoor was one of the most successful actors of his time. The actor won many hearts with his light hearted as well as intense performances through the years and was the romantic film-icon of ’70s and ’80s. He passed away on 4th December 2017, aged 79 after a long illness.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media to pay his respects, saying, “Shashi Kapoor’s versatility could be seen in his movies as well as in theatre, which he promoted with great passion. His brilliant acting will be remembered for generations to come. Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers.”
Prithvi Theatre, one of Mumbai’s best known theatres, was built by Shashi Kapoor and his wife Jennifer Kapoor in memory of Prithviraj Kapoor.
Neeraj Vora was an Indian film director, writer, actor and composer. He made a mark in Bollywood with his work as a writer for Aamir Khan’s film Rangeela. His directorial debut was Khiladi 420 in 2000. Later in 2006, he wrote and directed Phir Hera Pheri. He suffered a stroke on October 2016 putting him in coma. He was working on Hera Pheri 3 before he went into coma and died on 14 December 2017.
Though coming from different walks of life, each of these artists contributed to the prosperity of world cinema through their craft.