Renowned filmmaker Kumar Shahani dies

KOLKATA, Feb 25:
Filmmaker Kumar Shahani, a parallel cinema icon who directed films such as “Maya Darpan”, “Char Adhyay” and “Kasba”, has died at the age of 83.
The director passed away last night at a hopsital here, close friend, actor Mita Vashisht said.
“He passed away around 11pm last night due to age related health issues at a hospital in Kolkata. He was ailing and his health had been declining. It’s a deep personal loss,” Vashisht, who worked with the director on “Vaar Vaar Vaari”, “Khayal Gatha”, and “Kasba”, told PTI.
“We were in touch with his family. Kumar and I would talk a lot and I knew he was ailing and was in and out of hospital,” the actor added. Shahani is survived by his wife and two daughters.
In a note, the family said, “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Kumar, on 24th February, 2024.” The filmmaker was born in Larkana, Sindh in the undivided India. After the partition in 1947, Shahani’s family shifted to Bombay. He studied at the Film and Television Institute of India with Mani Kaul, another major name in Indian art house cinema. (PTI)
Shahani debuted with “Maya Darpan” in 1972. The film, based on Hindi writer Nirmal Varma’s short story, revolved around a woman divided between her lover and protecting the honour of her father in feudal India.
He followed it up with “Tarang” in 1984. Starring Amol Palekar and Smita Patil, the film received a national film award. The story revolved around an amoral businessman, who gets involved with a trade union leader’s wife.
In “Khayal Gatha”, Shahani traced the relationship of Khayal genre with Indian classical dance and featured Rajat Kapoor and Mita Vashisht.
“Kasba”, his other feature, is about a dishonest businessman’s adopted daughter, played by Vashisht, taking action when his eldest son, essayed by Shatrughan Sinha, is arrested for counterfeiting.
Vashisht hailed Shahani for his pivotal role in the parallel cinema movement in India.
“I admired him as a human being and as a filmmaker. He was one of the greatest directors in our country. His integrity and consciousness towards society, art, cinema, was unparallel. His films were inspiring,” the actor said.
The filmmaker’s death was mourned by many in the film industry.
Nila Madhab Panda, best known for “I Am Kalam”, “Kadvi Hawa”, bid a tearful adieu to Shahani, remembered Shahani as a “cinematic luminary”.
“Saddened by the loss of Kumar Shahani, a visionary filmmaker who painted life’s canvas with cinematic mastery, farewell to a cinematic luminary. Your artistry will forever inspire,” Panda wrote on X.
Writer-filmmaker Khalid Mohamed said Shahani’s films will be remembered by his admirers.
“Goodbye my friend. Kumar Shahani, brilliant filmmaker and beautiful mind, passed away at age 83, in Calcutta. He had suffered a fall, was hospitalized and discharged after a few days but… Kumar, your groundbreaking cinema, your smile, gentle voice live on in us, your admirers forever,” Mohamed said.
Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty said Shahani will be truly missed.
“Woke up to this terrible news of #kumarshahani passing. We lost a visionary, lost a teacher, lost someone who shaped us all with his immaculate vision of cinema and visual design… We will miss you forever! May your soul rest in Peace.. Amen,” Pookutty said.
In a post on X, Film Heritage Foundation mourned the death of Shahani.
“FHF is deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Kumar Shahani, pathbreaking avant-garde filmmaker, a leading light of the Indian New Wave, and one of the first members of FHF’s Advisory Council, who deeply believed in the importance of the work we do,” the post read. (PTI)