Prez, PM mourn filmmaker Basu Chatterjee’s passing away

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday mourned the passing away of filmmaker and screenplay writer Basu Chatterjee, saying the world has lost a “living legend”.

The 93-year-old filmmaker, who is remembered for Hindi movies such as “Rajnigandha” and “Chitchor”, passed away on Thursday due to age-related ailments.

Saying that the world of entertainment has lost a living legend, President Kovind tweeted: “Basu Chatterjee will be remembered for his masterpieces like ‘Khatta Meetha’, ‘Rajnigandha’, ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’, ‘Rajani’ among others. My condolences to his family and friends.”

The Prime Minister called Chatterjee’s works “brilliant and sensitive” and said it was sad to hear of the demise of Basu Chatterjee. “His works touched people’s hearts and represented the simple and complex emotions, as well as struggles of people. Condolences to his family and innumerable fans. Om Shanti,” Prime Minister tweeted.

Chatterjee was a pioneer of the seventies’ middle-of-the-road cinema that was a precursor to what is known as content-driven multiplex fare today.

Along with Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Chatterjee ushered in the small-to medium-budget entertainer of the era that highlighted the everyday stories of common people. In this genre of film was also born the realistic, guy-next-door-hero who stood as an alternative to the larger-than-life male protagonist of masala cinema of the era, typified best by Amol Palekar in films like “Chhoti Si Baat” (1975), “Chitchor” (1976), “Rajnigandha” (1974) and “Baton Baton Mein” (1979).

For Doordarshan, Chatterjee made hit TV serials such as “Byomkesh Bakshi” and “Rajani” — the latter with actress Priya Tendulkar, who essayed the title role and attained a cult status and passed away a few years ago.

Among Chatterjee’s other best-known films are “Piya Ka Ghar” (1972), “Khatta Meetha”, “Chakravyuha” (1978 film), “Priyatama” (1977), “Man Pasand”, “Hamari Bahu Alka”, “Shaukeen” (1982), and “Chameli Ki Shaadi” (1986).

His last directed film was “Gudgudee” in 1997, starring Anupam Kher and Pratibha Sinha. Born in Ajmer, Rajasthan, on January 10, 1927, he is survived by his two daughters.

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