Marathi film industry loses an icon
Renowned Marathi movie director Sanjay Surkar passed away in Pune on Thursday following a heart attack. He was 53. Best known for his films on sensitive and controversial subjects, like Saatchya Aat Gharat, Chaukat Raja and Aapli Manse, his ongoing venture Laathi was about grief and strife of the elderly in the country.
It was while shooting for Laathi that Surkar collapsed.
According to executive producer of the film Pravin Wankhede, Surkar had come to the location at Jain Hostel near BMCC at 9 in the morning. He spent some time taking breakfast and discussing the shoot with the team and suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to Ratna Memorial Hospital on Senapati Bapat Road where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 12.30pm.
Dr Jyothsna Kangavkar, chief medical officer said, “He had a heart attack and by the time he was brought here, he was dead.”
Surkar was taken to Tilak Smarak Mandir at 5pm, after which his last rites were performed at Vaikunth Smashan Bhumi in Navi Peth at 6pm.
Mohan Joshi, Subodh Bhave, Reema Lagoo, Suhas Joshi, Sachin Khedekar, Smita Talwalkar and several other actors who had worked with Surkar attended the funeral.
Reema Lagoo, a popular name in Hindi as well as Marathi cinema said 20 years ago she had done Marathi play Toh Ek Shan directed by Surkar. “We developed a great chemistry and I did three Marathi films directed by him, Aapli Mansa, Aai Shapath and Ghara Bahu. We also did a TV serial Noopur,” she said adding he had great cinematic vision.
“He gave me my first negative role in Ghara Bahu. In fact, when he narrated the role, I said I found it incomplete. I will always remember that he actually sat with me, discussed the scenes and changed a few of them. He was so flexible and had no ego problems,” said Lagoo.
“Sanjay Sarkar asked me to work for Master Eke Master in 2009. Whenever he would come over to my studio to discuss the music, he would concentrate on the melody and not grandeur or instruments and technology. He knew what he wanted and helped colleagues deliver it in an efficient way,” said composer Harsshit Abhiraj.
Dilip Prabhavalkar, who played the lead in Chaukat Raja remembers Surkar on the sets, calm and collected. “It was decided at the last moment I would play the lead and even though I had no time to prepare, Sanjay Surkar showed such faith in me that I was inspired to give my best. I owe him so much,” he said. Surkar had an ischemic heart condition for which he had undergone surgery over ten years ago. Despite his medical history, his sudden demise has shocked people in the industry.
Actor-director Neena Kulkarni who acted in Surkar’s film Saatchya Aat Gharat said, “When he met my husband and me after the surgery, he had said he would last at least another 15 years. It’s strange how close he had predicted when his heart would give way.”
“I remember him as an extremely emotional and sensitive person. This is what set him apart from other directors,” she added.
He lived alone at his Sinhagad Road residence and is survived by his brothers who live in Pune and Nagpur.