Noted writer director Lekh Tandon passes away


MUMBAI: Sunday evening saw the passing of one of India’s best loved film directors, Lekh Tandon. The 89-year-old entertainer who made blockbuster pictures like Professor, Amrapali, Jhuk Gaya Aasman and Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye succumbed to pneumonia at his home in Powai.

His family comprises two sons, two daughters and several grandchildren. Tandon lived with his daughter Geeta Malhotra in Powai. She told TOI, “My father suffered a paralytic stroke three months ago followed by an infection that led to pneumonia. We were in and out of hospital for several weeks. He passed away at home though.”

He remained active until recently when illness got the better of him. “He had completed his newest film ‘Phir Isi Mod Pe’ based on the subject of triple talaq. Only the finishing touches remained, like some editing and post-production work. But his producer Vajpayee is a kind man and will see it through,” Geetaji said.

The last rites will be finalised Monday.
Led by actor Prem Chopra, the film industry mourned the softspoken genius who would be unrecognisable without his trademark cap. Chopra recalled his expert direction in Jhuk Gaya Aasman.

Films like Doosri Dulhan, Ek Baar Kaho and Prince showed his immense range. In Professor he turned Lalita Pawar into a diva who dressed in silk saris and shyly sang Prem nagar mein banaoongi ghar main before her love interest Shammi Kapoor. Amrapali, whose only playback singer was Lata Mangeshkar, has some of Vyjayanthimala’s best dances in Hindi cinema.

Tandon directed the serial Dil Dariya where he introduced Shah Rukh Khan, apart from Phir Wohi Talash. He also acted in films like Swades, Rang De Basanti, Chennai Express and Chaarfutiya Chhokare. He shared the 1978 Filmfare best screenplay award for Dulhan Wohi with Vrajendra Gaur and Madhusudan Kalekar. Amrapali was India’s entry to the 39th Oscar Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

It is a major loss to the Bollywood industry.

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