Mahesh Bhatt: Reema Lagoo was in pink of health before sudden demise

Mahesh Bhatt

Sudden death of a friend silences you. That is what happened to me when I heard my dear friend Reema Lagoo had died because of a cardiac arrest in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Reemaji and me got associated through a film 'Aashiqui' which was my first musical blockbuster made in the '80s. She played the role of a single mother who leads her life bravely after her husband leaves her for another woman. It was during the shooting of 'Aashiqui' I discovered what a great actor she was.

It is during the shooting of one of the most powerful scenes, where she tells her son to take out her 'mangalsutra' and give it to his father, that I discovered the depth she possessed as an actor which was not really utilised by our film industry.

After the success of 'Aashiqui' we went on to make films like 'Naajayaz' and 'Gumrah' and in both these movies she had great parts.

I was privileged to put her out of her self imposed exile when I went to her and asked her to do the role of Dayawanti Mehta in 'Naamkaran'. I still remember what she told me when she met me at my office, "Are you going to oversee the making of the show? Only then will I say yes. Otherwise I don't think I have the inclination towards doing a daily soap." I assured her and I kept my promise.

It was during the making of 'Naamkaran' I discovered how committed an actor she was. She would shoot tirelessly for 12 to 14 hours.

She was in fact in pink of health when she suddenly passed away. Members of her unit say she had comeback from Nainital and was hungry for more challenging scenes.

I had promised to meet her on set of 'Naamkaran' just a few days before. Alas that did not happen because we believe that life is something that is guaranteed to us forever. It is only when such tragic deaths happen in your backyard that we are reminded of the ageless truth that all of us are here on this planet for such a little time.

As I put flowers on her feet, I feel grateful that I had the privilege of meeting an extra-ordinary actor and far larger human being that people know her.

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