Exclusive: Kalpana Lajmi Seeks Financial Aid From Film Fraternity
Critically acclaimed filmmaker, Kalpana Lajmi has been battling kidney cancer and has regularly been in and out of the ICU. On the morning of 6 November, the 61-year-old filmmaker was rushed to a hospital in the Mumbai suburbs as her condition worsened.
Kalpana, who was also legendary singer and music composer Bhupen Hazarika’s partner for 40 years, wanted to make a biopic on his life, which has now taken a backseat because of her deteriorating health condition.
Kalpana spoke to The Quint about her current condition and plans for Bhupen’s biopic.
How are you feeling now?
I am a little weak. I have come out of the ICU today and I am back at my residence but it will take me a couple of days to get my strength back, I think. You see the problem is, once you lose your kidney, it’s like losing the guardians of your whole system. I had overloading of liquid in my lungs then I was in ICU for four-five days, then I got alright, then I had a slight seizure. And once again, I was in the ICU for five days and my heart level dropped and I nearly went into cardiac arrest. Even though I was on dialysis. I am just a little upset that I was not aware that these things could happen. Now I have gone through the net, I have met many people, spoken to the doctors, in most people something or the other goes wrong. The only answer to that is going into an ICU and getting treated.
Now that you are home, how do you keep yourself busy?
Don’t ask. It’s awful, really awful. Four times in a week, I go for dialysis. My eyesight has also been affected because of this. So, I can’t read anything in small print. I can’t read a book, I have to get on to higher font on my iPad and Kindle. I have completed my memoir on Bhupen da and HarperCollins has acquired the book. The book is expected to release next year on Bhupen da’s birth anniversary.
We hope your medical expenses are taken care of.
I’ll be very honest with you, I do require help because I have not earned the amount of money that can take care of my treatment. This is a dreadful disease which drains you out completely so I’m hoping and praying that the film industry can get together and help me out as a fraternity. But the three people who have stood by me and helped me throughout are Soni Razdan, Mahesh Bhatt and Alia Bhatt as well as my mother, brother and also uncle, Shyam Benegal. They have been of great help. But it’s not fair on one person to keep on spending. So I hope Ashoke Pandit and the fraternity, whether it’s the producers or the directors or the writers or the actors, if they can get together and give me prolonged financial help. Atleast, I should be able to stand on my feet and earn once again. It’s all God’s grace that I have come this far. My state of affairs are quite depressing.
You had once said you wish to make a film on Bhupen Hazarika some day. What’s happening about that?
I do, I do. There is a producer from Assam who wants to do it but he is very insistent that I take Prosenjit as the lead. Prosenjit is a known actor from Bengal. So all these things are very fluid. We’ll easily move ahead with the talks once I get back on my feet.
If you had to choose somebody from the fraternity to play Bhupen Hazarika, who would you choose?
I wouldn’t mind having Prosenjit and I also wouldn’t mind having Manoj Bajpayee. These two, I feel, will fit into his role and will be more suited to the age group that I am planning to show in the film ie 40s to 60s.
(This post is from The Quint archives and has been republished to mark Kalpana Lajmi’s passing away.)
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