Lajmi’s legacy

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Lajmi’s legacy

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 | Pioneer

Lajmi’s legacy

Very few realise the worth of a person till he/she is gone and reviewing a life well-lived, we chance upon lasting legacies. Filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi is one such.So why does she stand out? Unlike many fillmmakers of today, she did not harp on lineage, blessed as she was with a bloodline that included Shyam Benegal and Guru Dutt. She did not copy or was “inspired.” She was among the first few women filmmakers who achieved success in a saturated male-dominated industry by skillfully combining arthouse and commerce. And while we can think of Sai Paranjpe films celebrating the middle class condition, Lajmi relied on strong characters and issues, investing them with the emotional appeal of mainstream films. So Ek Pal was a bold assertion of female sexuality and desire and the right of self-expression and she looked at it  through the prism of empathy and realism. With Rudaali, she poignantly told the story of a professional mourner who drowned her own burden and woes by sharing others’ grief. She even tied women to social issues like patriarchy in the broader context of class and caste divides. Her Darmiyaan (1997) proved prophetic in the way it addressed the problems faced by the third gender with empathy; that too at a time when queer politics was far from mainstream thought and discussion boards. Best part, she got mainstream and bankable actors like Shabana Azmi and Dimple Kapadia to play the protagonists to establish that they could deliver both artistically and commercially. Much before the Deepika Padukones and Kangana Ranauts of the world dared to take the plunge, Lajmi made it happen. She will forever be the woman who made the first move. 

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