Basu Chatterjee, Indian filmmaker & Rajni creator, dead


Veteran Hindi film director Basu Chatterjee died in his sleep early on Thursday, Ashoke Pandit, president of the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association, told news agency PTI.

Basu Chatterjee, second from right, in picture tweeted by India’s minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Chatterjee, 90, who lived in Santacruz, a western suburb of Mumbai, directed such delightful movies as RajnigandhaChitchorChhoti Si Baat and Khatta Meetha.

He started off as an illustrator for the Bombay weekly tabloid Blitz, and directed more than 40 films as well as a few groundbreaking television series.

His debut film, Sara Akash, 1969, is counted among the harbingers of New Age of Hindi cinema that veered away from strictly commercial movies, though his oeuvre bears more similarity with that other champion of everyman cinema, the late Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

Chatterjee’s TV series Rajni, about a woman who will brook no injustice, is considered prominently in the golden age of Indian television, as is his interpretation of the Bengali detective Byomkesh Bakshi in Byomkesh.

He worked with and crafted some of the biggest stars of Bollywood, including Jaya Bachchan nee Bhaduri, Amitabh Bachchan, and Amol Palekar.