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Lalitha Lajmi

As Guru Dutt’s production house turns 50, artist sister of the legendary filmmaker remembers him

Lalitha Lajmi
Lalitha Lajmi
The government is issuing a stamp to commemorate the occasion.
Yes, October 10 is his 40th death anniversary and his production house completes 50 years.

What kind of thoughts flood your mind?
It feels nice that he's being remembered. A lot of memories come rushing back. I miss him.

Any regrets?
Yes. On his last rakshabandhan I wanted to tie him a rakhi. My husband said, 'oh you're just going to get a gift'. So I didn't go. I always regret it.

When did you last meet him?
Exactly 10 days before his death. I visited him. He asked me to stay for dinner and eat some achar which my mother had sent him. He loved achar.

Why was he keen on not having his name on a film as fantastic as Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam?
Kagaz Ke Phool had flopped. Even president Radhakrishnan, the chief guest, walked out of it. This shocked him so much that he became superstitious about putting his name on a film after that.

Did he discuss his films with the family?
He'd show us rushes and ask for our reaction. I revered him too much to discuss his films.

Any memories?
In Calcutta we had an outhouse where you'd find him making kites and crackers. He enjoyed it.

How was he as a child?
Extremely sensitive and generous.

How did he die?
We assumed it was suicide. There was no note, nothing to suggest any explanation. But he had tried to commit suicide a few times before....

Any last words?
His films are watched over and over for their soul and beauty, but he didn't get to see this.

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