The death of Basu Chatterjee at 94 has liberated the prolific and influential filmmaker from almost 5 years of prolonged pain and suffering when he had absolutely nobody to ask about him or to look after him except his daughter Rupali.
Not one of the actors who achieved fame through Basuda’s films had time to pay the ailing actor a visit. Amol Palekar who attained marginal stardom with Basuda’s Rajnigandha and Chotisi Baat, says he met Basuda for the last time five years ago. Yes, five years!
Zarina Wahab (Chitchor) admits she found no time to visit Basuda for decades now.And Moushumi Chatterjee, seld-admittedly fond of the director who made Uss Paar and Manzil with her, told me she spoke to Basuda just once in the last many years.
All the actors who attained success in Basu Chatterjee’s cinema neglected him in his final years when he was losing his memory and was in great pain. In his final years, Basuda only had his daughter Rupali Guha at his side
I am reminded of the other Bengali stalwart Hrishikesh Mukherjee who became completely incapacitated in his final years. I remember calling him up to ask about him and he said at the end of our conversation, “Beta kabhi kabhi phone kar liya karo. I hardly get a chance to talk to anyone anymore.”
This is the same filmmaker whose roster of stars reads like the who’s who of the film industry. Basuda worked with everyone from A (Amitabh Bachchan) to Z (Zarina Wahab). But he died alone .