Posted by Fenil Seta
Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 20, 2017)
Reema Lagoo suffered a heart attack in the early hours of May 18. Along with the tribute, Mirror carried some ethereal black-and-white pictures of the actress which were clicked by her friend Renuka Shahane at Filmistan Studio during the shoot of Sooraj Barjatya’s 1994 film Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!
“During the 130-day shoot Reema Tai and I shared the same make-up room. She was the superstar of Marathi theatre and I’d watched her performances in plays like Savita Damodar Paranjape and Ghar Tighancha Hava. By then she had found a footing in Bollywood and was a senior artiste. She wasn’t very talkative but in the course of sharing a room and our tiffins she grew protective of me. If a stranger tried to act over-friendly with me, she’d raise an eyebrow in warning,” Renuka reminisces adding that though she played her daughter in the film, Reema was only nine years older than her.
Since it was huge cast, getting ready took a lot of time. Reema didn’t like spending too much time on hair and make-up so she’d get dressed and wait for the others. Renuka was experimenting with photography at the time and asked the senior actress if she’d model for her before the shooting began. “She was embarrassed initially but agreed and would wait patiently as, being an amateur photographer, I kept adjusting the focus and angles. I gave the pictures to her after developing and she loved them. She shared them with a publication when they profiled her too. For me they were a celebration of Reema Tai but I’m happy they’ve found their place in tributes to her,” says Renuka.
They reunited for a gritty Marathi film being shot in Kolhapur, with Reema playing Renuka’s mother-in-law. “She had become a larger-than-life screen mom by then, having played Rishi Kapoor’s mother in Prem Granth. She was never bothered about playing maa and was warm with everyone, in particular Soorajji’s young assistants who found ways of striking up a conversation with her. She used to discuss their dreams and ambitions with them for hours. She left all of us too early,” Renuka signs off with a heavy heart.