Mumbai: Veteran filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi, who is battling kidney cancer, and is on dialysis currently, talks about her indomitable spirit, the help she’s received from the who’s who of the film industry and more. Excerpts:
How are you feeling?
Well, my kidneys have failed, but I haven’t (laughs). I’m far from done, my dear. I had to be rushed to the ICU, but I’m recovering well now. I got a call from Lataji (Mangeshkar) in the hospital. She offered me all her assistance. I said I only needed her blessings.
Why did you have to be rushed to the hospital?
It was just one of those strenuous weeks, I guess. Otherwise, I’m doing fine. I need dialysis four times a week. That’s quite a strain on me financially and physically. I have no money. My biggest support has been my mother (Lalita Lajmi).
Your family has always had the most beautiful personalities…
My mother and uncle Atma Ram (filmmaker Guru Dutt’s brother) were always the best looking members of our family. Not many people know that Deepika Padukone is related to me. I doubt if she remembers. My mother, at 85, is in good health, touchwood. I wonder what I’d have done without her. In fact, everyone has been wonderful ever since my health failed. I had no money for my treatment.
You spent it all looking after Bhupen Hazarika…
I have absolutely no regrets about that. Every minute I spent with Bhupenda was precious… is precious. He remains alive in my mind. In fact, I have written a book on our life together. HarperCollins will release it next year on September 8, Bhupenda’s birth anniversary.
By then you will be back on your feet, we’re sure. I hope so. I’m itching to get back to filmmaking. The industry has changed much since I last directed a movie.
Those days, when my films like Ek Pal and Rudaali were so appreciated, now seem remote. We’ve gone from the era of Mahesh Bhatt to that of Alia Bhatt. And I’m proud that I know both of them as wonderful human beings. It has been a wonderful journey and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. And I’m not done yet. I should be out of the hospital in a few days. Please pray for me.