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Gogi Anand dies unsung

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Last week, another notable filmmaker died...unsung.

A brilliant alumni of the Film and Television Institute Of India, Gogi Anand remained an unfulfilled promising hyphen in Hindi cinema.

Though recognized as a valuable talent, he was never able to find his bearings. He made only one film during his lifetime.

"And that starred me," said Jaya Bachchan dolefully.

The film, "Doosri Sita" was released in 1974 and though it wasn't a box office success, created an arty clientele for itself.

The bold film, about a pregnant woman (Jaya) who awaits her turn in death row, remains more interesting for its director's ability to override both conventional and unconventional expectations rather than for creating an actual impact.

Because of the film's failure to connect with the audience, Gogi Anand was unable to make any other film. The talented but unsung creator spent his years in quiet solitude, making the random television serial to make ends meet.

"He did try to make another film. But it never got completed. He was too quiet, too unassuming and unaggressive to get his dues," said Jaya.

"Gogiji was a father-figure. It's a pity that his death went largely unnoticed. He deserves a lot more than just a small snippet announcing his death.

"Sure, he did very little work. But whatever he did showed him to be a man of great integrity and honesty. Why is the film industry so cruel to its unsuccessful heroes?" asked Jaya.

I met Gogi Anand a few months before his death at the Bachchans' residence. A quiet, shy, unobtrusive and broken man, he seemed surprised people still remembered his one feature film.

Mention of "Doosri Sita" elicited a dismissive shrug from him. A hug from surrogate-daughter Jaya teased a smile out of the broken old man. She was trying to keep his spirits high, getting him to make a TV serial for her company.

Gogi Anand isn't the only creative person from the film industry to die an isolated death.

Recently, H.S Rawail and then Nirupa Roy passed away in near-oblivion. Comedian Mehmood who died a couple of months ago was luckier. He reputation outraced his end-lap of oblivion.

Today, no one remembers Hrishikesh Mukherjee. One of Hindi cinema's most prolific and influential directors, Mukherjee, now 82, spends his days in complete isolation. On his birthday last week, he hardly had any visitors or calls.

Jaya, who has worked extensively with Mukherjee, and affectionately calls him "kaku" (uncle), is extremely perturbed at the callousness of the industry.

"Let's honour, recognize and care for our living legends before they're dead," Jaya said.


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