Bollywood star Rani Mukerji, who had collaborated with filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar on "Laaga Chunari Mein Daag" and "Mardaani", said the director's death this morning came as a shock as they had planned to meet soon.
Sarkar, best known for directing 2005 feature film "Parineeta", died at Lilavati hospital in suburban Bandra here, his wife Panchali told PTI. He was 67.
Mukerji, who worked with the director on "Laaga Chunari Mein Daag" and "Mardaani", said she interacted with Sarkar a few days ago when he called to congratulate the actor for her latest movie "Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway".
"I'm very very shocked by the news of Dada's passing away. I, in fact, spoke to him just the other day when I had gone to Amritsar, to the Golden Temple where he had called me telling me about my film so we had a long chat, he was insisting to do a facetime call but that day the network was not good so I was unable to video call with him.
"We were planning to meet this week when I got back but it is just so unexpected. His wife (Panchali boudi) called me at 4 am when this happened, it is really sad and shocking that dada has passed away like this," the 45-year-old actor said in a statement.
Mukerji said Sarkar's death is a great loss to his family as well as the film industry.
"He was also shooting these last few days so I don't know how it all transpired in just a matter of a few hours. I'm sure everybody who knows Dada will feel his loss deeply the way I'm feeling it. 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.
"My heart goes out to Boudi, Ronno and Raya as they were a very close-knit family and to all the people who worked in Dada's production house and those who have been attached to him over the years. It's going to be a great loss for them," she added.
Mukerji said she is saddened that she could not meet the director before his demise.
"So I'm really very saddened by this because I was meant to meet him soon so I feel terrible about it. You never realise how life is so unpredictable, you speak to a person and the next thing you know is that the person is not there.
"I will hold on to my last memory of him being so happy and excited for me as he had called me to share the feedback that he was getting for my film and me from all over," she said.
Actor Tahir Raj Bhasin, who got his big break with Sarkar's 2014 movie "Mardaani", said he will always remain grateful to the late filmmaker.
"I will always remember him with eternal gratitude as the man who trusted me with 'Mardaani'. He was a maestro whose experience and guidance gave me the confidence to act to my fullest potential in my debut film," the actor said in a statement.
Bhasin, 35, said Sarkar was like a mentor to him and gave him confidence to come up with his performance for the role of antagonist Karan "Walt" Rastogi in the movie.
"He was a visionary par excellence, ahead of his time. He lives on in the films he created. May he rest in peace," he added.
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