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Exclusive: Kalpana Lajmiâs interview done a few weeks before her demise


via filmfares https://ift.tt/2Dxxwee
Filmfare’s Managing Editor Farhana Farook met an ailing Kalpana Lajmi just a few days back. The filmmaker spoke about her failing health, her book on mentor Bhupen Hazarika and how a few industry friends were helping foot her medical bills. The interview will be out next week in our October 2018 issue. But who knew she would leave us so soon? So here’s Kalpana expressing her desire to live and her abiding love for mentor and musician Bhupen Hazarika... 

“To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” - Mary Oliver

That pronounces the karmic bond that noted director Kalpana Lajmi shared with the late singer, musician and filmmaker, Dr Bhupen Hazarika. At 17 she fell in love with the balladeer, 28 years her senior. At 19, she had moved in with him – much to the chagrin of the conscience keepers – and remained beside him till he passed away at the age of 85 in November 2011.  But what few would know, that Kalpana, known for her intrepid personality, never remained the same after that. “Death shatters even the strongest. Sometimes you get over it. Sometimes you don’t,” says Kalpana who’s been facing severe health problems since then. “I hit a low phase after Bhupenda passed away. Just before that I had lost my father (late Captain Gopi Lajmi). These two men were the most important in my life. The shock was difficult to overcome,” says the once ‘bubbly’ Kalpana who even lost her professional bearings after Hazarika’s demise. “As long as Bhupenda was my shelter, my shade, my umbrella, it was okay. After him, I couldn’t ask for work. He could convince producers that I was a woman capable of independent work. After him, I couldn’t approach producers,” confides the director of acclaimed movies like Ek Pal (1986), Rudaali (1993), Darmiyaan: In Between (1997) and Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence (2001). A tale of professional mourners, Rudaali, and a treatise against marital-rape, Dama, even won the National Awards for Dimple Kapadia and Raveena Tandon respectively. What’s more, Hazarika often composed the music for Kalpana’s films, his full-throated renditions and rustic score, lending character to her offbeat narratives. 

Kalpana Farhana Interview

Braving Illness 

Coming back to the void left behind by Hazarika’s demise, the period of ennui and grief however gave birth to a memoir. “I didn’t know what to do in those years. So, I narrated the story of my journey with Bhupenda to my assistant, who wrote it all down,” she says of her book, titled Bhupen Hazarika – The Way I Knew Him. “My style, something I was unaware of, has come through in the book. Sathya Saran, consulting editor of Harper Collins, fell in love with the copy. Within a week Harper Collins agreed to publish it,” she says of the chronicle expected to release around Hazarika’s birth anniversary. She wonders aloud, “Maybe, I fell sick because of the book because I relived the trauma once again. Before dying, Bhupenda had held my hand and said, ‘I owe you everything. But I’m going to leave you soon. You must be in charge of yourself’. I was rude to him and said, ‘You can’t help me. I’m going to help myself. And you’re not going anywhere’. But it happened.”

In the years following that, Kalpana was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney. “I was in bad shape. My health failed. I underwent an operation where one of my kidneys was removed,” she says. The problems didn’t stop at that. After that they had to insert a graft to enable regular dialysis, which cost a huge sum. Later, Kalpana developed a chronic UTI (urinary tract infection) for which she was hospitalised again. She also endured a nasty seizure attack. “The doctors advised that if you want to live, you must get rid of the other kidney as well,” says Kalpana. Today, without a single kidney, she not only undergoes dialysis four times a week but also suffers from poor vision and severe diarrhoea. “My uncle Shyam (Benegal, director) says when an organ is removed, the rest of the organs in the body cannot adjust overnight,” she explains her medical complications. 

Kalpana Farhana Interview

She’s been distressed about the finances as well – her treatment demanding a continuous flow of funds. But she’s overwhelmed by the kindness of some industry friends. “Soni Razdan and Alia Bhatt paid for the kidney surgery. They pay for my dialysis and the regular injections as well. It requires 10 lakhs a year to undergo dialysis. Soni, Alia and Mahesh Bhatt have stood by me. When I thanked Soni, she said, ‘Please don’t thank me. We’re part of this with you’. Soni loves me like a sister. Soni and Alia are truly blessed. But I haven’t done anything for them,” she reflects. “Aamir Khan and Salman Khan came forward with substantial amounts too. I’m grateful to Javed (Akhtar) saab and Shabana Azmi, Neena Gupta, Amit Khanna and others for their contributions,” she says. “Raveena (Tandon) keeps calling me now and then. Others don’t call. But I don’t hold it against them. They must be facing their own issues,” she says displaying graciousness. “My friend, Sharda Krishnamurthy, gave me Rs 50,000 to buy Kindle so that I could spend my time reading. Other college friends came forward with small amounts – five, six, eight… thousand – something I deeply appreciate,” she reveals. But the rising cost of injections has left her distraught. “What was costing Rs 60000 is now costing a lakh. I don’t want people to think that I’m only going on taking money. When I’m able to walk, I’ll make a small film. I want to be on my own feet and look after my health,” she says with resolve.

Kalpana Farhana Interview

Booked Memories 

Coming back to the book, she says, “I’ve touched upon Bhupenda as a social reformist, a political analyst, a poet, a lover and one of the great music composers of the world,” she says. “I’ve traced my journey as a young and confused 17-year-old and how I came to accept his death at 85. I lived with him for 40 years without leaving his side for even once,” shares the niece of the late actor/filmmaker Guru Dutt. “During the last 10 years I disappeared from the film scenario, because I didn’t want to lose him. That’s why I lost out on work,” says Kalpana whose last film was the Sushmita Sen starrer Chingaari (2006). “Other than having a ward boy wash him, I did it all for him,” she maintains. “Lataji (Mangeshkar) once said, ‘I’ve never seen such dedication in a relationship’. I don’t regret my relationship with Bhupenda. I just regret my failure to take care of my health and my work.”

 Reportedly, Hazarika had included Kalpana in his will. “Bhuepnda had zero wealth. Or else I wouldn’t have been in such a position. He had willed me his home. But his family is demanding it. It’s gone into litigation. I’ve no energy to fight it. I was given charge of his trust. But I got out of it. I’m old and tired. I’m 64. I was once such a bubbly and bright person,” she says with wistfulness.  The unconventional Hazarika did offer marriage to Kaplana in the later years. “He proposed to me to but I refused him saying, ‘I cannot accept your supposed love, which should have come to me when I was 35’. When I was young, he was not interested,” she informs adding quickly, “I too wanted to be independent. I was not the typical Indian girl. Had I been so, I wouldn’t have run away with him. I didn’t believe in marriage. I was least bothered about what his family or people thought about us.” What fascinated her about Hazarika was his uprightness. “He was an honest man, an honest artiste committed to his work. These qualities attracted me to him and kept me attracted all life. He never stole ideas,” says she of the great balladeer, who also came to be known as the ‘Bard of the Brahmaputra’. 

Kalpana Farhana Interview

Tomorrow Calling

Suffering and spirituality are often soul-mates. Kalpana seeks solace in Anandamayi Ma. “I’ve grown closer to my guru. Once, Bhupenda thre up blood. I rang up the ashram at 4 am and sent a message across to Amma that he was sinking. She sent a reply saying, ‘All your love for him will remain. But please allow him to go in peace’. After that Bhupenda lingered for two months. After all, the whole world had prayed for his life.” When Kalpana’s kidneys started failing, Amma urged her to follow the doctor’s advice. “Now, I want to go for kidney transplant. But I’m exhausted. I have to be medically fit for the surgery. I can barely walk. But I’m learning to be strong and never lose hope… just like my mother,” says Kalpana throwing an admiring glance at her mother, renowned painter Lalitha Lajmi, a lady of stoic courage.  

Kalpana Farhana Interview

via filmfares https://ift.tt/2Dxxwee
Filmfare’s Managing Editor Farhana Farook met an ailing Kalpana Lajmi just a few days back. The filmmaker spoke about her failing health, her book on mentor Bhupen Hazarika and how a few industry friends were helping foot her medical bills. The interview will be out next week in our October 2018 issue. But who knew she would leave us so soon? So here’s Kalpana expressing her desire to live and her abiding love for mentor and musician Bhupen Hazarika... 

“To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” - Mary Oliver

That pronounces the karmic bond that noted director Kalpana Lajmi shared with the late singer, musician and filmmaker, Dr Bhupen Hazarika. At 17 she fell in love with the balladeer, 28 years her senior. At 19, she had moved in with him – much to the chagrin of the conscience keepers – and remained beside him till he passed away at the age of 85 in November 2011.  But what few would know, that Kalpana, known for her intrepid personality, never remained the same after that. “Death shatters even the strongest. Sometimes you get over it. Sometimes you don’t,” says Kalpana who’s been facing severe health problems since then. “I hit a low phase after Bhupenda passed away. Just before that I had lost my father (late Captain Gopi Lajmi). These two men were the most important in my life. The shock was difficult to overcome,” says the once ‘bubbly’ Kalpana who even lost her professional bearings after Hazarika’s demise. “As long as Bhupenda was my shelter, my shade, my umbrella, it was okay. After him, I couldn’t ask for work. He could convince producers that I was a woman capable of independent work. After him, I couldn’t approach producers,” confides the director of acclaimed movies like Ek Pal (1986), Rudaali (1993), Darmiyaan: In Between (1997) and Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence (2001). A tale of professional mourners, Rudaali, and a treatise against marital-rape, Dama, even won the National Awards for Dimple Kapadia and Raveena Tandon respectively. What’s more, Hazarika often composed the music for Kalpana’s films, his full-throated renditions and rustic score, lending character to her offbeat narratives. 

Kalpana Farhana Interview

Braving Illness 

Coming back to the void left behind by Hazarika’s demise, the period of ennui and grief however gave birth to a memoir. “I didn’t know what to do in those years. So, I narrated the story of my journey with Bhupenda to my assistant, who wrote it all down,” she says of her book, titled Bhupen Hazarika – The Way I Knew Him. “My style, something I was unaware of, has come through in the book. Sathya Saran, consulting editor of Harper Collins, fell in love with the copy. Within a week Harper Collins agreed to publish it,” she says of the chronicle expected to release around Hazarika’s birth anniversary. She wonders aloud, “Maybe, I fell sick because of the book because I relived the trauma once again. Before dying, Bhupenda had held my hand and said, ‘I owe you everything. But I’m going to leave you soon. You must be in charge of yourself’. I was rude to him and said, ‘You can’t help me. I’m going to help myself. And you’re not going anywhere’. But it happened.”

In the years following that, Kalpana was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney. “I was in bad shape. My health failed. I underwent an operation where one of my kidneys was removed,” she says. The problems didn’t stop at that. After that they had to insert a graft to enable regular dialysis, which cost a huge sum. Later, Kalpana developed a chronic UTI (urinary tract infection) for which she was hospitalised again. She also endured a nasty seizure attack. “The doctors advised that if you want to live, you must get rid of the other kidney as well,” says Kalpana. Today, without a single kidney, she not only undergoes dialysis four times a week but also suffers from poor vision and severe diarrhoea. “My uncle Shyam (Benegal, director) says when an organ is removed, the rest of the organs in the body cannot adjust overnight,” she explains her medical complications. 

Kalpana Farhana Interview

She’s been distressed about the finances as well – her treatment demanding a continuous flow of funds. But she’s overwhelmed by the kindness of some industry friends. “Soni Razdan and Alia Bhatt paid for the kidney surgery. They pay for my dialysis and the regular injections as well. It requires 10 lakhs a year to undergo dialysis. Soni, Alia and Mahesh Bhatt have stood by me. When I thanked Soni, she said, ‘Please don’t thank me. We’re part of this with you’. Soni loves me like a sister. Soni and Alia are truly blessed. But I haven’t done anything for them,” she reflects. “Aamir Khan and Salman Khan came forward with substantial amounts too. I’m grateful to Javed (Akhtar) saab and Shabana Azmi, Neena Gupta, Amit Khanna and others for their contributions,” she says. “Raveena (Tandon) keeps calling me now and then. Others don’t call. But I don’t hold it against them. They must be facing their own issues,” she says displaying graciousness. “My friend, Sharda Krishnamurthy, gave me Rs 50,000 to buy Kindle so that I could spend my time reading. Other college friends came forward with small amounts – five, six, eight… thousand – something I deeply appreciate,” she reveals. But the rising cost of injections has left her distraught. “What was costing Rs 60000 is now costing a lakh. I don’t want people to think that I’m only going on taking money. When I’m able to walk, I’ll make a small film. I want to be on my own feet and look after my health,” she says with resolve.

Kalpana Farhana Interview

Booked Memories 

Coming back to the book, she says, “I’ve touched upon Bhupenda as a social reformist, a political analyst, a poet, a lover and one of the great music composers of the world,” she says. “I’ve traced my journey as a young and confused 17-year-old and how I came to accept his death at 85. I lived with him for 40 years without leaving his side for even once,” shares the niece of the late actor/filmmaker Guru Dutt. “During the last 10 years I disappeared from the film scenario, because I didn’t want to lose him. That’s why I lost out on work,” says Kalpana whose last film was the Sushmita Sen starrer Chingaari (2006). “Other than having a ward boy wash him, I did it all for him,” she maintains. “Lataji (Mangeshkar) once said, ‘I’ve never seen such dedication in a relationship’. I don’t regret my relationship with Bhupenda. I just regret my failure to take care of my health and my work.”

 Reportedly, Hazarika had included Kalpana in his will. “Bhuepnda had zero wealth. Or else I wouldn’t have been in such a position. He had willed me his home. But his family is demanding it. It’s gone into litigation. I’ve no energy to fight it. I was given charge of his trust. But I got out of it. I’m old and tired. I’m 64. I was once such a bubbly and bright person,” she says with wistfulness.  The unconventional Hazarika did offer marriage to Kaplana in the later years. “He proposed to me to but I refused him saying, ‘I cannot accept your supposed love, which should have come to me when I was 35’. When I was young, he was not interested,” she informs adding quickly, “I too wanted to be independent. I was not the typical Indian girl. Had I been so, I wouldn’t have run away with him. I didn’t believe in marriage. I was least bothered about what his family or people thought about us.” What fascinated her about Hazarika was his uprightness. “He was an honest man, an honest artiste committed to his work. These qualities attracted me to him and kept me attracted all life. He never stole ideas,” says she of the great balladeer, who also came to be known as the ‘Bard of the Brahmaputra’. 

Kalpana Farhana Interview

Tomorrow Calling

Suffering and spirituality are often soul-mates. Kalpana seeks solace in Anandamayi Ma. “I’ve grown closer to my guru. Once, Bhupenda thre up blood. I rang up the ashram at 4 am and sent a message across to Amma that he was sinking. She sent a reply saying, ‘All your love for him will remain. But please allow him to go in peace’. After that Bhupenda lingered for two months. After all, the whole world had prayed for his life.” When Kalpana’s kidneys started failing, Amma urged her to follow the doctor’s advice. “Now, I want to go for kidney transplant. But I’m exhausted. I have to be medically fit for the surgery. I can barely walk. But I’m learning to be strong and never lose hope… just like my mother,” says Kalpana throwing an admiring glance at her mother, renowned painter Lalitha Lajmi, a lady of stoic courage.  

Kalpana Farhana Interview

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