Rani & Raima mourn loss of ‘family member’ Pradeep Sarkar’s demise

Rani & Raima mourn loss of ‘family member’ Pradeep Sarkar’s demise

At the age of 50, Pradeep Sarkar made a stunning debut with ‘Parineeta’ which fetched him the National Award for best debut film of a director. The 2005 film had been instrumental in the careers of Vidya Balan, Shantanu Moitra and Raima Sen. Shot extensively in Kolkata, Raima remembered how ‘Dada’, as he was fondly called in the fraternity, always had a smile on his face. “I was in utter shock when I received a message from boudi (Sarkar’s wife) on Friday morning that he had passed away,” Raima told ‘Millennium Post’.

The ace filmmaker passed away at the age of 67 around 3:30 am on Friday in Mumbai. Reportedly, the director was on dialysis and his potassium levels dropped drastically. In his three-decade-long career, Sarkar balanced the worlds of advertising and filmmaking with élan.

After the first COVID-19 lockdown, she even met him at his house. “I won an award in Kolkata on March 22 and I thanked Pradeep Sarkar and Vinay Shukla in my speech. I sent that video to both of them. Vinay responded, but Dada didn’t. Then, I received a text from boudi on Friday. He was like family. We were in constant touch, but I didn’t know he was sick,” she said.

Raima recalled how Sarkar, Balan and she bonded over food during the shoot of ‘Parineeta’ in Kolkata. “Both Vidya and I used to play pranks on Dada. All three of us were big-time foodies,” said Raima, who essayed the character of Koel. Lalita's (Vidya Balan) cheerful and chirpy cousin in ‘Parineeta’.

A Bengali ‘bhadralok’, Sarkar had worked with several actors and technicians of Bengali origin in his lifetime. From Rani Mukerji in ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’ and ‘Mardaani’, Kajol, Riddhi Sen and Tota Roy Chowdhury in ‘Helicopter Eela’ to Raima, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Kharaj Mukherjee and Gita Dey in ‘Parineeta’, Sarkar always loved working with Bong actors.

For Rani, losing Sarkar is like losing a family member. The actress did some of her finest works with the ace writer-director, who is known for his sensitive portrayal of women in Indian cinema.

“I’m very shocked. I spoke to him just the other day when I had gone to the Golden Temple in Amritsar where he had called me telling me. He was excited for me and had called me to share the feedback he was getting for my film, ‘Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’. He was insisting on making a ‘FaceTime’ call. However, the network was poor and I wasn’t unable to video call him. We were planning to meet this week when I got back to Mumbai. His wife (Panchali boudi) called me at 4 am when this happened. I had a great connection with him. We’ve done a lot of work together over the years, so it’s literally like losing a family member,” said Rani.

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