Filmmaker Basu Chatterjee, the “RK Laxman of Indian Cinema” is No More


Filmmaker Basu Chatterjee, the “RK Laxman of Indian Cinema” is No More

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Basu Chatterjee, the man who along with filmmakers like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Bhattacharya pioneered middle cinema through early ‘70s and ‘80s, is no more. 90-year-old Chatterjee had been suffering from age-related ailments for the past few years. He passed away on Thursday, June 4, in his sleep at his Santa Cruz (Mumbai) residence. The legendary filmmaker’s last rites will be performed at the Santacruz West crematorium today at 3 pm.

Ashoke Pandit, president of the Indian Film & TV Directors’ Association, was the first one to break the saddening news on his Twitter timeline.

Speaking to The Quint about his role model, Pandit fondly called Chatterjee “the RK Laxman of Indian cinema”.

Pandit’s words ring true. Chatterjee’s demise is the end of an era in film.

Film director and biographer Ram Kamal, an avid fan of Chatterjee’s work, remembers the icon for “changing the style of narrative in Hindi cinema.”

Suparn Verma recalls the master of storytelling as “an institution of filmmaking”.

Producer and lyricist Amit Khanna, who has worked on multiple projects with Chatterjee in the past, bid adieu to his old friend.

Perhaps, words will fall short to describe the beauty and realism of Chatterjee’s works and hearts he touched upon.

An inspiration to many aspiring filmmakers, Sudhir Mishra remembers the legend as the man who paved his own way with a cinema unlike others.

Best known for films such as Chhoti Si Baat, Chitchor, Rajnigandha, Piya Ka Ghar, Khatta Meetha, Shaukeen and the TV series Byomkesh Bakshi among others, Chatterjee’s filmography presented the middle-class in a developing and urban India with a lot of empathy. His genius lay in the balance of humour and realism that he brought to every film, by presenting the stories that centred around the common man.

Rest in peace, legend.