Posted by Fenil Seta
Stage, TV, film actress Reema Lagoo succumbed to cardiac arrest in Mumbai
Roshmila Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 19, 2017)
It’s past noon on Thursday. Mahesh Bhatt has just left Reema Lagoo’s residence after paying his last respects to the actress who close to midnight had called her relatives complaining of uneasiness and was rushed to a suburban hospital where she succumbed to a heart attack at around 3 am.
“She walked into the hospital herself. She had no history of heart diseases and was only suffering from a throat infection. This is such a shock!” exclaims the inconsolable filmmaker who’d first worked with her in the musical Aashiqui in which she played Rahul Roy’s mother who brings him up alone after her husband leaves them. She then went on to play mother to love child Ajay Devgn in Naajayaz. More recently, Bhatt convinced her to be a part of a daily soap, Naamkarann, on the assurance that the tone and tenor of her character, Dayawanti Mehta, would be set by him, and he’d oversee the project on a daily basis.
“Last August, I came out of retirement to direct her introduction scene in Naamkarann with the permission of the director. The sound of her breath in that scene still haunts me. She was the heartbeat of the show and the young writers marvelled at how she brought that something special to the screen. She was working 12 hours a day, how did this happen?” he wonders.
Shreyas Talpade is equally shocked having read her post on a whatsapp group at 12.30 am on Tuesday. He had worked with her in the ’90s, as an assistant director on the pilot of a TV series. “She didn’t treat me any differently when I became an actor, always enquiring about my family and inviting me home,” he shares.
Archana Puran Singh informs that Reema herself was extremely close to her own family and would ensure that she was back home in time for dinner so she could make the chapatis herself. The two had worked together in the madcap comedy, Shrimaan Shrimati, and Archana asserts that in real life Reema reflected the person she was on screen—warm, lovable and good-natured. She however confides that initially Reema wasn’t comfortable. “I told her to give it one episode and she’d love it. After we wrapped up the first episode, she admitted she’d never enjoyed herself as much. Despite her initial reservations she was effortlessly brilliant as Kokiji. It was tragic when Jatin Kanakia passed away, now Reema is gone,” she sobs.
Another sitcom which is unforgettable is Tu Tu Main Main which her childhood friend, Sachin Pilgaonkar, acted in and directed. It also featured his wife, Supriya, who played Reema’s daughter-in-law. “It became a real big thing and her contribution was immense. Tu Tu Main Main is one of the most memorable experiences of my life,” he says, too overwhelmed to continue.
Veteran actress Bharti Achrekar’s bond with her dated back to three decades even though they only worked together in one play, Lagnachi Bedhi. “Sadashiv Amrapukar, Suhas Joshi and Tanuja were all part of the cast. It was for a social cause and played all over Maharashtra. We were a part of a close circle in the Marathi industry,” she informs.
Juhi Chawla who had a few scenes with Reema in Aziz Mirza’s Yes Boss, remembers that she used to be so busy with theatre and her travels that whenever she had a break between shots, she’d snatch 40 winks and return, refreshed.
“I recently bumped into her at an awards function after a long time. When she learnt that I’m associated with certain social causes, she told me she’d love to do anything associated with children,” Juhi reminisces, adding that she loved watching her most in Sooraj Barjatya’s films.
Bhagyashree who worked with her in Sooraj’s directorial debut, Maine Pyar Kiya, recalls the scene featuring Salman Khan, Reema who played his mother at 31, and her together. In it the actress asks her, “Mere pagle Prem ki Suman banegi?” “It was one of the first scenes we shot together. There was so much love and tenderness in her voice that it actually made me cry. And yet I will remember her as a woman with a smile that made her eyes twinkle,” she maintains.
Kajol who shared the screen with her in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha and Yeh Dillagi, was one of the first to reach the Oshiwara crematorium even before the body arrived. She could not hold back her tears after paying her last respects and hurried away without speaking to anyone. But Farah Khan who choreographed the two in the song “Saajanji ghar aaye” in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, insists that Reema always brought a happy, positive energy with her to the sets. “She was beautiful and joked that she was too young to play a mother. Today, I’ll say that she was too young to go. It’s really sad,” Farah says emotionally.
A few days before she passed away, Bhatt had shared with her a video from one of the many inspirational Ted Talks. It was about a plane crash survivor who, when faced with the prospect of imminent death, realises that everything can change in an instant, one shouldn’t have any regrets and postpone anything for the morrow. “I thought of all the people I wanted to meet, all the fences I wanted to mend and all the things I wanted to change,” he says. Reema responded, saying “This was beautiful, timely and so very relevant.”
Remembering their last exchange, Bhatt rues that he couldn’t make it to the Naamkarann sets. “We said goodbye over the phone with the promise to meet again. We keep thinking we have time but forget that none of us are sure there’s a tomorrow. That’s the essence of life,” he asserts. “The image of her lying there as I showered rose petals on her feet, so cold, silent and lifeless, and the memories of the warm woman so full of life, are two different streams that are impossible to reconcile.”
—With inputs from Natasha Coutinho
Saif Ali Khan recalls screen mom
I’m sad to hear about dear Reemaji who played my mother in Yeh Dillagi, my first hit film in the ’90s. She was a wonderful actress and a lot of fun on set. Akshay (Kumar) and I used to pass her love notes that we’d written and pretend that Saeed Jaffrey saab was writing them. Her reaction was amusing! She was so kind and patient with me. I can’t believe she passed away at such a young age. Anything can happen at anytime to any of us. My condolences to her family...
Saif and Reema also worked togther in Hum Saath Saath Hain and Kal Ho Na Ho
This entry was posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm, and is filed under Archana Puran Singh, Bharti Achrekar, Bollywood News, Juhi Chawla, Kajol, Mahesh Bhatt, Naamkarann, Reema Lagoo, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Saif Ali Khan, Shreyas Talpade . Follow any responses to this post through RSS. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.